Updated with time of incident and photo of suspects from WPIX.
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) January 10, 2016
At about 11:15 p.m. Thursday evening, an 18-year-old woman was walking with a male friend by the Osborn Playground, near Hegeman Avenue, in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, when a group of men appeared and approached the pair. One of the men brandished a weapon, according to WPIX.
The group reportedly told the male to “get the **** out of here” and proceeded to take off the woman’s pants off and take turns raping her. The woman’s male friend was reported to have called the police after fleeing. It is unclear how long the police took to respond to the scene. However, it is apparent that enough time passed for the woman to have been repeatedly raped and for the suspects to have fled.
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) January 9, 2016
The man who emerged from the Brownsville park and produced the handgun was described as a being a “tall black male about 20-30 years old and wore a red jacket and black pants.”
The victim of the brazen attack was said to have been in “stable condition” after being treated by emergency personnel and “rushed” to the King’s County Hospital.
Brownsville is described as being one of the “poorest” neighborhoods in New York: 40 percent of the population was reported to live below the poverty line in 2014 by the New York Times. Almost 50 percent of Brownsville residents over the age of 16 were reported to be completely out of the workforce.
Though the neighborhood only comprises roughly two square miles, there were 72 shootings and 15 murders in Brownsville in 2013. The New York Times described the network of playgrounds that youth in the urban maze avail themselves of as they wander in ever-changing groups as being lit up by a “steady barrage of violence.”
5 dudes rape a 18 yr in a Brownsville park? This world is sickkkk ????????
— Ashley (@_rottensociety) January 9, 2016
“Shamir liked watching playground fights, trading blows himself and running back and forth in the melees,” the New York Times wrote of a 15-year-old Brownsville resident named Shamir. After the teen got into a fight with a sibling he moved into an apartment with yet another sibling, “There he woke up when he pleased, drank when he wanted and took girls back to his room when he could (after lots of flirting on Facebook).”
The 15-year-old described beating up another boy from a rival neighborhood with a group of friends: the rivals were said to have killed one of Shamir’s friends a few years previous.
The Brownsville playgrounds are presented as an integral part of life for those who grow up there. Shamir pointed out a spot in a playground where a friend was shot to death to the New York Times. Wandering from playground to playground is described as a “diversion.”
In 2010, the population of Brownsville was 58,300. There are 18 New York City Housing Authority developments located in the neighborhood.
In 1967, a riot broke out in Brownsville when a jury failed to indict a black New York City Police Detective named John Rattley after he shot and killed Richard Ross, a 14-year-old boy, believing he had mugged an elderly man. After the jury refused to indict the detective, residents of Brownsville were reported to have taken to the streets and staged “anti-police” disturbances, as reported by the Herald-Journal. One-hundred-fifty police officers were said to have been used to put an end to the demonstrations.
Despite being described as being poor and crime-plagued, Brownsville’s Wikipedia page lists dozens of notable people who have come from the area, including Andrew Dice Clay, Larry King, Al Sharpton, Red Holzman, and Sean Price, who all grew up or lived there.
The New York Police Department investigation into the rape in Osborn Park continues. There have been no reported arrests, according to ABC.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]