A two-count indictment was unsealed in the United States District Court in Central Islip, New York, charging defendant Jaime Rivera, a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation street gang, with the 2005 murder of C.W. Post student and basketball star Tafare Berryman, as well as a related firearms charge. The defendant was scheduled to be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.
The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Thomas Krumpter, Acting Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD).
“Gang violence has taken the lives of too many innocent young people with bright futures,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “This case should serve as a message to all gang members, if you engage in violent gang activity, our law enforcement partners will not stop pursuing you until you are held accountable for your actions.” Mr. Capers expressed his grateful appreciation to the FBI, DEA, and NCPD.
“The mentality that an innocent person is some sort of threat to a gang member or a gang defies logic. A student who was out having a good time, ended up in the middle of a dangerous situation and was killed for absolutely no reason. No one deserves to die because they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. The FBI Long Island Safe Streets Task Force and our law enforcement partners never gave up and continued to work this case to charge the shooter and now he will be held accountable,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, “Our job in law enforcement is to bring criminals to justice. By joining forces with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Nassau County Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, we identified and arrested the person allegedly responsible for murdering Tafare Berryman, who was tragically taken away from his family and friends 12 years ago. Drug-related violence is just one more casualty of drug trafficking that shatters families and ends lives.”
“Today's announcement is the culmination of an extensive investigation that was worked on collaboratively by numerous law enforcement investigative agencies. Protecting the public is our number one priority and today’s indictment of defendant Rivera was of the utmost importance,” stated Acting Commissioner of Police Krumpter.
As detailed in the indictment and the government’s detention letter filed earlier today, on April 2, 2005, Rivera and other Latin King gang members were present at La Mansion bar and nightclub located at 3942 Long Beach Road, N. Long Beach. Also present at the club were numerous C.W. Post students, including Tafare Berryman and some of his friends, who were celebrating the successful presentation of a fashion show that had taken place at Post earlier that evening. At least one incident occurred inside of the club between some gang members and one of the Post students, which later spilled out into a parking lot across from the club.
At approximately 5:00 a.m. on April 3, 2005, Berryman and a friend exited the club and observed several fights occurring in the parking lot. While walking to their car, Berryman’s friend was hit in the head with a bottle causing a laceration. Berryman and his friend then entered a car and drove away. Several blocks from the club, Berryman’s friend, who was driving, pulled the car over to the side of the road to tend to the laceration on his head which was bleeding profusely. At that point, Rivera pulled up alongside of the parked car and shot Berryman once, killing him because Rivera mistakenly believed that Berryman and his friend were involved in the prior altercation in the parking lot and were a threat to the Latin Kings.
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