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Residents Want Safer Places To Play After 12-Year-Old Crushed By Gate In Brooklyn

Witnesses: Yakim McDaniels Was Playing A Very Dangerous Game Of Chicken
Yakim McDaniels (credit: CBS 2)

Yakim McDaniels (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Residents are calling for a safer place for children to play after a 12-year-old Brooklyn boy died while playing on an electric parking lot gate in Brownsville.

The investigation is continuing Monday into the death of 12-year-old Yakim McDaniels.

Amateur video shows a frantic scene, as rescue workers try to free the 12 year-old. The boy was playing with a group of kids Sunday afternoon trying to see who could stay the longest on a parking lot gate as it rolled up, police said.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports

“They’ll get on the gates and ride it halfway up, then jump off,” described 13-year-old Jah-Quan Williams.

“It was too late. His hands got caught up. When he looked up it was too late,” another witness said.

But the 12-year-old somehow got caught and by the time firefighters hit the cut off switch to stop the gate, it was too late. His upper body was crushed between the rolling metal gate and the frame, 20 feet off the ground.

“I don’t know if someone played dare or asked him to go up there,” said Doris Chase, McDaniels’ mother. “I just seen my son’s feet hanging down and his head. That’s all I seen.”

McDaniel was transported to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Playing on the gate is off-limits, but residents who live there say kids do it all the time and that their complaints about it being dangerous have fallen on deaf ears.

“The kids don’t have no place to play,” one womans said.

Many now blame the management company, Omni New York, for the tragedy.

Omni, which is owned by former Met’s first baseman Mo Vaughn, bought the complex in 2007 and installed security cameras, 8-foot high fences and locked gates in an effort to clean up the notoriously drug-ridden project.

Now, there are huge vacant lots in the complex and residents say it feels more like a prison than a home.

“Now it’s like a jail in there,” said resident Venese Taylor. “The children have nowhere to play.”

“It’s nothing,” said resident Jeffrey Roberts. “They’re supposed to be building a garden in here, there’s no garden. This dirt just came in here at 5 a.m. this morning.”

City Councilman Charles Barron has been leading the charge for months to get the fences taken down and said this tragedy could have been avoided.

“We’re not animals to be caged and we’re not in prison. We live in a housing development,” Barron told CBS 2’s John Slattery. “Those gates have to come down and if they don’t come down, then we’re gonna take them down.”

Omni has agreed to pay for McDaniels’ funeral and is reconsidering plans to build a basketball court.

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