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Outraged Parents Call for Safe Streets After Death of Kamari Hughes

Nearly 4,000 Brooklyn parents and counting want Mayor Adams to prevent future child road deaths and hold NYPD accountable after the death of Kamari Hughes.

David Meyer|

Neighbors set up this vigil at the corner where an NYPD tow truck driver killed 7-year-old Kamari Hughes in October.

Stop the kindermoord.

An open letter that began circulating hours after a tow-truck driver killed a 7-year-old boy on a Brooklyn street quickly attracted more than 3,830 signatures as of Saturday afternoon from concerned parents who demand that Mayor Adams to take action to prevent future road deaths.

The letter from "parents and individuals" to Adams and other Brooklyn elected officials "respectfully" calls on City Hall to:

  • seek justice and accountability from the City of New York.
  • reinstate school crossing guard positions, which were cut back 18 percent this year.
  • stop blocking already approved traffic calming projects" on Ashland Place and Underhill Avenue.
  • support lifesaving street safety infrastructure like daylighting and shorter crosswalks.
  • hold NYPD employees "accountable" for "instances where the NYPD unnecessarily speed through the streets, taking the lives of New Yorkers with immunity in traffic accidents."

The letter comes amid growing outrage over the killing of Kamari Hughes, who was run down by NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent Stephanie Sharp, 54, as she turned her truck onto N. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, according to NYPD and witnesses.

The "Stop de Kindermoord" (Stop the Child Murders) campaign achieved success in Holland in the 1970s.

Sharp kept driving after the moment of impact — only stopped some 100 feet passed the intersection after an area resident stood in front of her truck, witnesses said.

"Many of us have personally experienced near-misses and close calls from crossing streets with our kids," the parents wrote in their letter. "We need leadership that cares about Brooklyn pedestrians, and we’re asking you to lead."

Hughes's mother described her son as "amazing" in an interview with the Daily News.

“He was only 7,” Taqunda Hughes, 37, told the paper through tears.

The Parent Teacher Students Association at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School plans to "march for our children's lives" this coming Saturday at noon outside the school's 80 Willoughby St. downtown Brooklyn location, according to an email to the school community that was shared with Streetsblog.

"Our priority is to be here for the family now and moving forward. With his mother's consent, we have planned for a network wide march to take place on Saturday Nov. 4," the PTSO board wrote in an email to parents late Friday.

"We march to remember and demand justice for Kamari, and for the lives of all our children. We demand Mayor Adams follows through on his promise to 'do whatever it takes to keep our streets safe,'" the board wrote, echoing the demands in the parents' petition.

The block of N. Portland between Myrtle and Auburn Place is a dangerous spot, with 53 reported crashes since January 2020. Those crashes injured seven cyclists, seven motor vehicle occupants and two pedestrians, according to Crashmapper.

Some witnesses at the scene said a crossing guard had previously been stationed at the corner, which Streetsblog has not been able to confirm.

The letter also called out Adams for his comments in 2021 after the death of three-year-old Apolline Mong-Guillemin, when the then-Brooklyn Borough President called for "a holistic rethinking of our streetscape to stop this carnage."

City officials responded to the 2021 tragedy by installing a plaza where baby Apolline was killed — and no widespread changes.

You can add your name to the list of signatories here.

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