Rally to protest cop response time

Vicious Ozone Park subway attack sparks call to speed up reaction

In the wake of a serious subway attack at a Liberty Avenue station, several Ozone Park community groups are planning a Friday rally to protest what they are calling slow police response times.

“It takes 40 minutes to get a response and they’re just a mile away,” said Iqbal Ali, the founder of the Muslim Community Patrol, a volunteer neighborhood watch group that started last summer.

“We want to give the benefit of the doubt to the NYPD,” he said. “But we want to fix it.”

The rally is set for Friday, 2 p.m., at Liberty Plaza, on Drew Street between Liberty and 101st avenues.

It comes after a particularly vicious attack on two Bangladeshi men on their way to work last Friday night.

After entering the A train subway station at 80th Street and Liberty Avenue at around 7 p.m., the men were called by a group of teens outside the station. The teens directed them to open an exit gate so they could beat the fare.

“The men said, ‘No, they couldn’t do that’” and walked away, according to Ali.

“When they got upstairs, the group was waiting and they jumped them.”

Bangladeshis “are very easy to target. The main problem is that they cannot defend themselves.”

A photo of one of the victims was widely circulated on Facebook the following day showing his bruised face and a puncture wound on his head.

It took more than 20 minutes for cops to arrive, according to the victim’s friend who called 911, Ali said.

“This is not the first time,” said Ali. “It’s happened two or three times before.”

That was one of the reasons Ali started the Muslim Community Patrol, an extension of a volunteer patrol that rolled out earlier this year in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, he said.

With NYPD approval, the MCP volunteers began patrolling parts of Ozone Park in a white-and-blue Ford Taurus with a seal matching the style of the department.

“We have one concern, the safety of the Ozone Park community,” Ali said.

“It’s not just Muslims,” he said. “It’s everybody, all races, all religions.

“We want to build a bridge [to the NYPD] but, right now, the bridge is burnt down.”

Going public with criticism of the police presents a risk for the MCP and other community groups that want to avoid looking as if they do not support law enforcement.

The rally announcement, for instance, did not list any sponsoring groups.