BY TRONE DOWD
Southeast Queens civic leaders stood in front of the Jamaica Multiplex on 160th Street and Jamaica Avenue during rush hour last Thursday calling for the young woman involved in the brutal fatal beating of 17-year-old Brooklyn girl Ta’Jae Warner last week.
Civic leaders included Kevin Livingston of 100 Suits for 100 Men, Dr. Reba Perry with Runaway Girl, Terryl Ebony, founder and executive Director of the Misunderstood Youth Development Center, Jahi Rose, director of Constituent Affairs for the office of Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), former president of the 113th Precinct Community Council Earl Roberts and Kenya Bryan of Precious Lives. Livingston pleaded for the young lady, to “do the right thing.”
“We are here today because as a community, there was a young woman who was senselessly beat down in Brooklyn by the name of Ta’Jae Warner,” said Livingston. “There is one suspect in custody. The problem is, one of those attackers that have not been apprehended is from Queens. And we’re here on behalf of the community of Queens to let you know, that you need to turn yourself in. Give this family the proper closure and give them the justice that they deserve.”
The incident occurred in Coney Island on April 6, when a group of teenagers crossed paths with Warner while she walked her 11-year-old brother to the store. A remark was made by the teenagers before they began attacking Warner. One of the teens with the group, 18-year-old Sarina Agard-Ford relentlessly beat the 17-year-old in the head until she was unconscious. She was declared brain dead on the scene and remained on life support at Bellevue Hospital, allowing for long distance relatives to visit and say their last goodbyes. Warner died mere hours later.
Agard-Ford remains the only arrest in the case so far. She faces attempted murder charges and may receive a harsher sentence. Other suspects in the attack, the New York City Police Department was able to confirm was a young girl from Jamaica.
“We as a community have to start stepping up,” Terryl said. “We have to start holding our young people accountable for their actions. This is a time where young women are senselessly beating each other down to the point of death and it’s okay. People are seeing this and not doing anything. What if this was your child. What if this happened to someone you loved? Wouldn’t you want that person to step forward?”
Rose also disavowed the approval of such violence in the black community.
“We refuse to remain silent when we have an activity that happened, [involving] a resident from our community. It is not representative of our community. We are not condoning and never have condoned the use of violence to resolve problems, especially to the point where someone has lost their lives. We understand that our young people maybe agitated, may be aggravated, they may be angry, but there’s no excuse for taking it to this level of violence,” Rose said. “We ask for the individuals who have done this, please turn yourselves in.”
Roberts said that the community as a whole “needs to do better” and step up in stopping teens from “hurting one another” to this extent.
“We are a people who come from greatness,” Bryan said. “No one’s 16-year-old children should be beaten to death in broad daylight while people stand around and videotape and adults watch. […] Get our children the help that they need. Don’t allow it to be your child next.
“Parents. Friends. Family. Be pissed off,” Livingston pleaded. “Because this could have been your child. If you’re a Queens resident, be as outraged as we are, because we’re not going to allow that in our community. That young lady had a right to live. She had a right to see her 18th birthday. You have a right to be pissed off community.”
No further arrests have been made in the case so far.
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @theloniusly