Police Shooting at 60 Clarkson Followed Years of Complaints About Building


On Sunday night, police responded to a report of a stabbing at 60 Clarkson Avenue in Flatbush. Two officers found the victim in the building’s lobby, where he laid bleeding from the chest. Then they went into a second-floor apartment. Inside, both officers shot and killed 39-year-old Osbourne Broadie. They said that he lunged at them with scissors.

Citywide, the incident was particularly notable because it was one of three police shootings over the weekend. Neighborhood locals, though, may have been most interested in a different detail: this was a familiar address.

The Q at Parkside blog first called attention to 60 Clarkson in July 2012, explaining that the building’s landlord, Barry Herrs, had been replacing tenants with homeless residents:

According to longtime tenants who predate this arrangement, 73 of the [83] apartments are now housed by temporary “shelter” residents. The (relatively few) rent-paying pre-shelter tenants claim, among many other things, that new residents are uniformly brought to the building in the dark of night so as not to arouse attention…

The City’s Department of Homeless Services contracts an absurdly over-market-rate payment to the crooked slumlord Barry Hers to the tune of $3,000 a month per “shelter” apartment.

Meanwhile, the paying tenants watched the building fall into disrepair and chaos. There were roach infestations, overflowing garbage, the smell of urine in elevators, mold on walls, and broken doors and plumbing. There were also several reports of fights.

In August 2013, WNYC reported that Herrs was an example of a landlord who was “pushing out paying tenants to make room for the homeless.”

A court order requires the city to provide shelter for all homeless people. In recent years, homelessness has increased faster than the city can build places for them to live. This created, WNYC reported, “the curious phenomenon of the city paying private landlords such high prices for lousy housing that it’s in the landlords’ interest to push out market-rate tenants like Melvina McMillan,” who was paying $700-a-month.

“We used to have like a lot of tenants,” she told the radio station.

As of 2013, the building had more than 200 code violations. But there had not been recent reports of the kind of violence that happened on Sunday. Broadie, the man killed by police, served three years in prison for an attempted assault against police officers in 2005, according to the Daily News. The criminal complaint charged that officers were trying to arrest him for grabbing a 13-year-old girl by the neck and throwing her against a wall.

The News reported that during the 2005 incident Broadie allegedly said, “I’ll kill someone before I get arrested again.”

The stabbing victim Tameka Washington survived and was taken to Kings County Hospital. She was listed in stable condition as of Monday.