Tuesday, May 06, 2008

the neighborhood

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - There's an arraignment today for four suspects accused of attacking two people, including a man who spends his life trying to end violence in Providence.

Streetworker Tony Kim and his 16-year-old nephew were both stabbed Sunday morning trying to break up a fight outside "Level Two" nightclub.

Police say Kim was stabbed in the back of his shoulder, and his head, outside the Level Two nightclub on Richmond Street around 2:00 AM Sunday. Kim's nephew was stabbed in his arm as he ran to help.

"First and foremost, this police department stands with our streetworkers in this city," said Police Chief Dean Esserman, "because they work with us every night out there, keeping this city safe." Chief Esserman said the suspects used "razor-sharp" knives on Kim and his nephew.

Kim is one of many so-called "street workers" connected to the Institute for the Practice of Non-Violence. They fan out across the city to try and keep the streets safe. This stabbing is the worst attack on these workers since 2003.

The head of the Institute, Teny Gross, expressed his workers' shock at the attack on Kim. "It shouldn't have happened to him, someone who brings so much good to the city, and prevents a lot of stuff from happening. He is very passionate about his work."

Kim, like many of the street workers, is a former gang member. He has served time behind bars, but now that he's turned his life around, he tries to prevent violence -- by resolving disputes and encouraging kids on the streets to stay in school

The attack has shaken the street workers, but they say it will not deter their fight. "We will continue to do the important work we do in this city," says Gross, "it is a risk we take. It shakes us when like something like that happens. We are pretty shaken, we're pretty tired."

Kim and his nephew were released from the hospital Sunday. We're told they're expected to be okay.

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