[It Sounds Too Crazy Sometimes]
The driver of the BMW in picture Gounden took with his mobile phone
On January 10, 2018 Kris Gounden wrote a letter to NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill complaining of numerous “false arrests” by officers of the 106 precinct. Less than a month later, Gounden was arrested again, bringing the total to maybe more than a dozen times now in the last decade.
The latest arrest occurred Feb. 5, 2018 after an incident involving a motorist in Queens. “If officers from the 106 found a burglar stabbing me, they would arrest me for obstructing the knife,” Gounden says.
Here’s what the NYPD in a response they sent me on Feb. 6, at 12:53 PM said happened when I contacted both the office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesperson:
“Krishna Gounden was arrested on Monday, February 5, 2018 at 1430 hours, after striking a pedestrian with his vehicle in front of 116-32 117 street and then fleeing the scene. The victim followed the suspect and called 911. The suspect was apprehended by responding officers. The victim was removed to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. Upon further it was discovered that the suspects license was suspended.
Charges: Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injuries. Aggravated Unlicensed Operator. Motor Vehicle Violation- No License. Any further information please be referred to the Queens District Attorney Office.”
Gounden was locked up and shipped to Riker’s Island. When his mother sent money from Florida and a friend bailed him out, Gounden then told me his side of the story.
Gounden claims there was no pedestrian involved in the incident. He claims he was driving from his grandmother’s house to pick up his kids from school when a black BMW bumped the rear of his own vehicle at a stop sign. Gounden claims he drove forward and pulled to the side. He claims the driver of the BMW cursed him out, drove ahead, stopped in the middle of traffic, ran back to his car, and kicked and punched the right front side of the vehicle. “I called 911. I told them I believe the driver was crazy,” Gounden says.
Gounden took a photo of the BMW when it pulled up ahead of him in the middle of traffic he says and he’s shown me the picture. He says when the driver drove by a passenger in the car was also taking his picture.
Gounden says he was afraid for his life so he drove back to his grandmother’s house where his friend and legal advisor Posr Posr was also waiting for him. He says the driver of the BMW followed him to the house and kept driving back and forth in front of the house. Gounden took more photos with his mobile phone and again called 911 he says.
He says when two officers responded they started interviewing him about the incident. Meanwhile, the driver of the BMW had also parked his vehicle nearby on the road. The officers were still interviewing Gounden when a sergeant from the 106 precinct showed up on the scene, he says. He claims the sergeant then told the two officers to stop the interview and to arrest him. “Their attitude changed immediately. I asked them don’t you even want to see the pictures I took or to listen to the 911 call? They said ‘no, you’re under arrest.”
Gounden said an ambulance also showed up at his grandmother’s home even though the driver of the BMW had been seated in his car and didn’t appear to be in any pain. “If he suffered any injury, it came from him kicking and punching my car,” he says. Gounden showed me a picture of his car that shows a slight dent on the side.
He also provided a screenshot that shows he called 911 at 2:26 PM and at 2:34 PM on Feb. 5, during the confrontation. Gounden says the Feb. 5 arrest is similar to an arrest from 2012 when officers of the 106 also ignored his evidence after a confrontation with a neighbor named Scott Statland. (That case was later dismissed).
The driver of the BMW later was granted a restraining order against Gounden; he’s identified in the court papers as Joseph Adorno.
When I contacted the NYPD again about the incident on Feb. 14 and provided Gounden’s version of the incident, the office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI) didn’t respond. Mayor de Blasio’s spokesperson, copied on the inquiry, also didn’t respond.
When I contacted Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown’s office to inquire if Gounden’s side of the case had been investigated, spokesperson Ikimulisa Livingston responded: “We can not comment on a pending matter before the Court.”
Gounden has a court date in Queens Criminal Court tomorrow morning before Judge Michelle A. Johnson, the same judge who is presiding over another case in which Gounden claims he was “falsely accused” of switching prices on an item at Home Depot in 2015 and paying $80 less than the full price. “Isn’t it strange that all my cases seem to end up before the same judge?”
Judge Johnson has handled some of Gounden’s cases involving the 106 precinct dating to 2012.
On Feb. 1, in the last court appearance on the Home Depot price-switching case which I also attended an assistant district attorney Brian Cox told the judge that he had gone to Home Depot and obtained a DVD containing film from surveillance camera that shows Gounden switching the price tags. In a previous court session Cox had told Judge Johnson that his office had lost a copy of the DVD in the three years that the case has been going on. He had also said he wouldn’t be able to obtain another copy from Home Depot because the store’s policy was to destroy all film within two weeks. On Feb. 1 he didn’t explain how he could have obtained the DVD from Home Depot given the store policy to destroy film the judge didn’t ask him either.
Gounden, who is representing himself in that case, in a previous court session had accused the DA of destroying evidence and asked Judge Johnson to sanction Cox. “If there is indeed any film, it would exonerate me because it would show that no such thing occurred in the store,” Gounden told me, referring to the alleged price-tag switching.
The judge also denied Gounden’s motion to dismiss the case on the ground that it is time-barred. “How can a judge allow a DA to adjourn a case for over two years, from 2015 then start a trial in 2017?” he said, in an interview.
On Feb. 1, Cox told Judge Johnson that the film contained in the DVD would prove the DA’s case against Gounden. The judge said she wouldn’t allow it to be presented as evidence since Cox had produced it in the middle of the trial. She said she would allow Gounden to take the DVD and review it however and she adjourned the case after Cox handed Gounden the DVD box. (Gounden’s previous court-appointed lawyer Leonard Ressler who had urged him to take a plea-deal which he rejected also told him the ADA had told him that Gounden was on the DA’s “shitlist” because The Black Star News had called about his case).
Gounden was still inside the courthouse when he opened the DVD container from Cox. “What the hell? This thing is empty!” he exclaimed before several witnesses, including court officers. He rushed back into the courtroom where Cox was still seated in front of Judge Johnson, getting ready to try another case. Gounden confronted Cox with the empty container. The assistant district attorney didn’t seem too surprised. He pulled out another DVD container and opened it in front of Gouden. This one had a DVD in it and he handed it to Gounden.
Later, Gounden went to multiple locations, including to a computer expert who was unable to play the DVD. “First an empty DVD container and now a DVD that nobody can play and that may not contain any data,” Gounden says. Gounden believes Cox pulled a stunt in the courtroom on Feb. 1. “He knew he was giving me an empty box but wanted the transcripts to suggest that he gave me the video in front of the judge. That way he wouldn’t have to face sanctions for destroying Brady material.”
When I contacted the Queens County DA and asked about the DVD, spokesperson Livingston responded, “We do not comment on pending cases. However, I can tell you that the DVD provided to the defendant does contain data. To see the images, one has to use (download) a particular type of software. The name of the software is written on the DVD.”
Gounden has been arrested numerous times by officers from the 106 precinct and on each occasion the cases are dismissed. (I’ve written about several of them).
Gounden in his Jan. 10 letter to O’Neill, which he’s also copied to State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and to the Department of Justice, claims officers from the 106 have been harassing him since 2007 following a racist attack against his family by neighbors in Howard Beach. Gounden and his family are ethnic Indians — immigrants from Guyana. They were the only non-White family in the neighborhood when they purchased their home for $800,000 at the time. The Daily News covered one of the attacks against the family in an article headlined “Family haunted by hate in Queens.”
The Goundens were provided 24 hours police protection for about six months. When the media coverage died and the police protection was withdrawn, the retaliation from the 106 started, Gounden claims. At the time, then New York City Council member –now a State Senator– Joseph Addabbo Jr., told The Daily News that it was Gounden who had played the race card.
After the incident, Gounden started getting tickets written up against his private and apartment rental properties by City and State agencies–including FDNY, D.O.T., DSNY, Coast Guard, D.E.P., D.E.C, D.O.B.
The fines eventually came to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The City stopped paying rent for his Section 8 tenants and his buildings, worth $3 million, went into foreclosure. Gounden is now penniless and even when he’s hired for a job –he’s trained as an airplane technician– he losses them within a short time because of the time he needs to take off from work for the multiple court appearances. He lost two jobs in the last month alone. “All the cases are concocted to make sure I can’t be employed,” he says. “The judges go along with it too.”
The Black Star News has covered many of the incidents involving Gounden and the 106 precinct.
Two recent articles I wrote covered Gounden’s allegations that police officers even destroyed his marriage as part of the retaliation scheme after he sued Thomas Pascale, once the commander of the 106, now a deputy inspector with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
Gounden caught an officer named James Wilfinger in bed with his wife in their Howard Beach property on Nov. 16, 2016 and videotaped the incident. The IAB also interviewed Gounden about the incident and his allegations that Wilfinger started giving his wife –who had been a teetotaler– drugs and alcohol. Gounden provided a copy of the video to IAB, to a private investigator and The Black Star News.
Wilfinger even gave Gounden’s wife a PBA Card, ID # 31561, to show to officers in case she was ever arrested while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Gounden claimed in his letter to O’Neill. In another encounter with Wilfinger on Jan. 1, 2017 in the Howard Beach home the officer pulled a gun on him, Gounden claimed. When he reported the matter to the 106 precinct, he was the one who was arrested, he said in the letter to O’Neill. (Gounden claims the car driven by Adorno resembled one that Wilfinger once drove to his Howard Beach home; the NYPD didn’t respond when I raised this point).
Gounden was interviewed on Sept. 13, 2017 by two detectives from IAB, Yesenia Guerrero and Edwin Jerez, when he had complained about Wilfinger much earlier –before his letter to O’Neill– but since then there has been no follow up, he says.
The NYPD hasn’t responded to the Gounden letter to O’Neill.