Are more homicide detectives assigned to handle murder cases in wealthier white neighborhoods than elsewhere in the city? It's an issue that some African-American families are raising with the new police commissioner as they grieve over the unsolved murders of their children. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Dolene John can't shake the anger over the murder of her 22-year-old son Kellan in front of their home a year ago, and it doesn't help that the killer hasn't been caught. She wants police to do more.
"He is still at large, and I think the police system is doing nothing because my son was a black American," she said.
She was joined by other parents Thursday whose sons were killed with no one arrested.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn said that he is concerned about the number of unsolved murders in black and Latino neighborhoods. He also questioned if enough detectives are in those communities to solve these cases. In the past, he told families that there were, but now, he said he's not so sure.
"I would tell them that police are working on it and giving the best amount of resources they can to solve these murders so there'd be some semblance of peace," Williams said. "Was I lying to them? That is a problem."
Williams has meet with police officials over the issue and hopes to get updates in the near future.
"I am comfortable at this time, at least preliminarily, that the assignment of resources based on our current staffing formulas is appropriate to the changing conditions," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
The New York City Police Department said that in 2012, there were arrests in 75 percent of homicides, but didn't say where those crimes were committed. That still leaves a lot of unsolved murders and heartbroken families.
"The person that did this to my son is still out there. He's still walking the streets, free to do this to some other mother," said Natasha Christopher, whose son was murdered. "When will this end?"
"Finding my son's killer or killers and bring them to justice will be much more a reality if resources are allocated to doing just that," said Donna Rayside, whose son was murdered.
"One of the first things I do is come in and do a look at, 'Where are my cops working? Are they appropriately assigned?' Bratton said. "So we'll take a look."
These families said that they will be waiting.