When Edward Zipco showed up on Bedford Avenue on Sunday morning to set up a display for Superchief, the art gallery he co-owns, as part of the Northside Festival and Williamsburg Walks, he found crime scene tape and lots of cops milling around. He said he overheard a bar worker from the Charleston on the phone saying that someone who had been kicked out of the bar had threatened to come back with a gun, then when the man returned, a crowd in the bar beat him inside, on the sidewalk out front, and across the street.
We now know that the beating victim was a 33-year-old named Michael Sapp and that he is dead, and we have so far been unable to verify the details about the gun threat and the mob attack. Zipco's piece of the story would have ended here, only he dashed off this Instagram post:
#UPDATE Soooo #allegedly our block on the block party has been keeping it VERY #oldschoolbrooklyn and word on the street is that #allegedly late last night after the block party event was over- an #alleged patron at the Charleston got into a big ol fight, as he left he threatened to bring back a gun, and then he showed back up and was beaten by a mob and now he's dead. #Allegedly #SUPERCHIEFGALLERYNYC #superchiefgallery pop up at #williamsburgwalks / #northsidefest will now be located on the corner of N7th, the corner of N8th, the corner of N9th- its all still happening! its another bright and sunny beautiful Brooklyn Sunday! Come hang out from 12-5!!!
Zipco, a Florida native, helped found Superchief in 2012 and opened a Los Angeles location in 2014. He is also fond of the violent crime that to him recalls a happier time in Brooklyn, as he explained when we called today to ask him why his Instagram comments were so glib:
Hm. Why was I so glib? I think I was kind of just in shock that the whole thing was happening. This was something we'd worked really hard on, to get that whole thing set up, and then to show up and have it all just covered in police tape was a bit surreal. And, yeah...
That and that's the Brooklyn I kind of fell in love with over the last 15 years. So it was a little nice, in a weird way, in a really fucked up way, but a weird way to see it on Bedford. We all know how different it is now. So it was kind of, in a weird way, nice to see a bit of Old Brooklyn. It seemed like somebody really fucked up and, I don't think those people beat that guy for no reason. So it was nice to see some intense Brooklyn, in a weird way.
At this point, I ventured that Michael Sapp's sister might disagree with his assessment. He clarified:
Oh, I'm sure. I'm completely coming at it from an ignorant standpoint. I don't know the situation. I don't know any of the players involved. I'm just totally unaware of the realities of the situation. I only got a very superficial view. So I don't mean any offense to the actual family and I don't know the situation.
He went on to speculate about what exactly happened and why, siding with the mob he believes beat Sapp to death. He then clarified again: "I'm not informed at all and wasn't there ... I'm not trying to disrespect somebody dead's family."