Dozens of people were setting off illegal fireworks in the middle of the street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, according to a recent video.
The man who took the video told WABC that he was on his way home Saturday night when he saw a crowd of people around the corner setting off fireworks.
“This mob of probably 50 or 60 people comes around the corner, one with even an Elmo hat on with Roman candles and just blasting everywhere, just running down the middle of the street,” said Topher Maslanka. “Just absolute chaos, just suddenly came out of nowhere. And as quick as they were there, within two minutes, they were gone.”
Maslanka said he felt some of the sparks from the fireworks hitting him, calling the displays a little too close for his comfort.
Residents from around Brooklyn have been calling these fireworks a major nuisance.
But instead of calling police to report these fireworks, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling on community groups to take action because they are considered to be “nonviolent activity.”
“That is the role of community-based groups and organizations,” Adams said. “That is why I’m calling on the City of New York to empower Cure Violence to go into the community and talk to the residents about the dangers of fireworks.”
Adams’ Cure Violence program is a public health and anti-violence program that uses disease control and behavioral changes to bring results.
But the usage of fireworks has not been limited to the public. Fire officials were caught lighting fireworks on a Tuesday night in Crown Heights.
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) June 17, 2020
“As public servants, I feel like they should know better than to light fireworks at 11:30 at night. It’s completely brazen wantonness,” a man told the New York Post.
A statement from Adams’ office said the 311 calls about illegal fireworks have surged over the past few weeks. In the first half of June, his office recorded 1,737 calls, an over 80-fold rise of last year’s total.