Hordes of police donning full body armor swept through two Harlem housing projects Wednesday morning in a massive sting aimed at unfurling a deadly gang feud that lead to the 2011 cold-blooded killing of an 18-year-old basketball star.
The coordinated action began at approximately 6 a.m. when teams of cops from gang divisions across the city donned helmets and carried battering rams as they simultaneously stormed several apartments throughout the Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Manhattanville houses aiming to arrest some of the over 100 people indicted on conspiracy charges stemming from gang violence in the area.
Police plucked two young men from 1420 Amsterdam Ave. and two men from 1430 Amsterdam Ave. in the Manhattanville houses as Police Commissioner Bratton looked on.
“We ain’t no f–king gang. I ain’t in no f–king gang,” a man identified by his mother as Isaac Waterman, 20, said as police walked him in cuffs to a waiting police van.
“Y’all just f–king up my life,” he added.
The sting centers on an ongoing feud between crews based in both houses, which sit just blocks apart on Amsterdam Ave. near W. 125 St. It is the product of a joint Manhattan District Attorney and NYPD gang unit investigation. Those arrested face charges including conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder and other serious charges involving two killings and 20 additional shootings, sources told the Daily News.
Police planned to announce how many alleged gang members were arrested at a press event later in the day. The operation is one of the largest in city history, police said.
The investigation dug into gang warfare before and after the slaying of the late, nationally ranked Murry Bergtraum point guard Tayshana (Chicken) Murphy, who was gunned down in her own building as she begged for mercy about 4 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2011.
Dozens of the charged gang members will face first-degree conspiracy counts on which they’ll face a max of 25 years to life in prison. Their arraignments are expected to begin Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Many residents hailed the arrests, calling for a stop to what they described as senseless violence.
“It makes me anxious to wake up and see all these cops,” said Manhattanville houses resident T. White, 47. “But I’m happy to see it, the violence needs to stop. We all need to live together this is all (of) our neighborhood,” she said.
At separate trials, Robert Cartagena 23, and Tyshawn Brockington, 24, were convicted of killing Murphy, although it was never made clear which pulled the trigger. They are each serving 25 years to life in prison.