A meeting to discuss ongoing wild parties in New York City’s Washington Square Park and whether to ask the NYPD to crack down on them devolved into near-anarchy, with the commander of a nearby precinct being labeled a “racist piece of s**t” at one point.
Anti-police attendees at the Greenwich Village affair Wednesday night screamed at local officials and police as the Community Board 2 meeting descended into chaos, the New York Post reported.
Cops and officials were subjected to abuse, insults, and racial slurs as most meeting attendees disrupted the proceedings. Some, predictably, accused NYPD officers of unfairly targeting persons of color — a familiar accusation — while using excessive force to clear the park in accordance with a midnight curfew issued by the city.
Capt. Stephen Spataro, commander of the NYPD’s 6th precinct, was labeled a “racist piece of s**t” who will “go to hell” amid shouting from protesters who also directed their ire at a joint committee of local officials comprised of CB2 reps from the Parks and Waterfront and Human Services panels.
One of the officers stated “We don’t wear riot gear”, he continued saying “what you describe is part of our normal uniform”,”with a helmet”#HappeningNow community board meeting on Washington Square Park
— Scootercaster (@ScooterCasterNY) July 22, 2021
Spataro said that, thanks to the addition of NYPD officers who are now present at Washington Square Park, major criminal and vandalism incidents have declined substantially since July 1, “especially near the famed Arch,” The Post reported.
NYPD has been heavily present in Washington Square Park over the past couple months. Here they are today, including a captain. More on tonight’s community board meeting on NYPD in the park coming after this. pic.twitter.com/bxfavKl6R6
— @TheIndypendent (@TheIndypendent) July 22, 2021
“We’re not looking for enforcement. We’d like to get through the night with no arrests, no summonses, we’re there just to make everyone feel safe, but we will [make] arrests when need be. Our goal is that our presence there will deter any issues,” Spataro said at one point, the paper added.
One attendee, Gia Lisa Krahne, the director of Alchemical Studios, a theater and art business located on West 14th Street, said she was victimized by police for being in the park past a 10 p.m. curfew that, at times, was enforced earlier this spring.
“The captain speaking about the presence of the police as if this is something that makes everyone feel safe,” Krahne told the attendees and the CB2 panel.
“But they are having a hundred police out there from after 8:30 p.m. many times on militarized bicycles,” she testified.
“On June 5, I was the first person brutally arrested. I was not there to protest. It was 10:05 p.m., and five men pulled me forward, and threw me facedown on the ground, and bloodied my friend that was next to me while I was walking backwards,” she said.
Fascinating exchange here. A local business owner says she was arrested and brutalized by NYPD officers at 10:05 pm last month.
Captain Stephen Spataro begins by saying cops were responding to “agitators,” and then blames woman for not following direction pic.twitter.com/C11OSfNOzw
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) July 21, 2021
Spataro responded that police have repeatedly warned those in the park that they would be subject to arrest if they refused to comply with the curfew order. He went on to say that dozens of NYPD officers have also been attacked during recent confrontations.
Meanwhile, David “Shaman” Ortiz, 28, who took credit for launching the series of parties recently as well as non-sanctioned, non-licensed boxing matches in the park, told the meeting that he and other members of the “Be Outside Crew” are providing the community with a service.
“What we do is we amplify the sound and the communication of the community that’s already been there in Washington Square Park for forever,” Ortiz told the meeting, according to The Post.
“This park has been around for decades before any of you have even been alive. Artists have been flocking there for centuries. This is a place of community. This is a place to be, a place of welcome,” Ortiz added.
“And yes, I was arrested for this. And yes, just three days ago my case was dismissed for being arrested for amplified sound. Wanna know why? Cuz it’s bull,” he continued.
Watch “Community Chaos at Washington Square Park Board Meeting” on YouTubehttps://t.co/qJLHnQI6UT
— banthis.tv 🚨🚨🚨 infowars.com banned.video.tv (@MizCakes36) July 22, 2021
The park, however, has become ground zero for violent crimes, and the rave parties Ortiz and others have sanctioned and organized have often gotten out of hand. Nevertheless, last month he vowed they would do one every night of the summer.
“We’re going to be here every single day. Just like the police are, we are too. Because this is as much our home as to the other residents that actually live here,” he told the Daily Mail. “If you can’t accept the fact that I’m living within my First Amendment constitutional rights, which is the right to freedom of speech and to rally in a public place, then my friend you are living in the wrong country and democracy is not for you.”
His comments came on the heels of several high-profile criminal incidents in the park, including one involving a man who was beaten and robbed of his cellphone, as well as two other people being stabbed and an older cook at an area restaurant being beaten bloody.
“The perps run this town,” a disgusted NYPD source told the New York Post in a separate report last month following the spate of criminal activity. “It is scary to walk around New York City streets. It has gotten so bad that daylight doesn’t scare the bad guys.”
At a news conference amid the rising criminal chaos last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed unmoved.
“We’ve had some particular issues for a limited period of time in Washington Square Park, and there’s been an effort to figure out the right approach,” he said.
Several New Yorkers who live in the Washington Square Park area, however, told The Post they no longer feel safe in their own neighborhoods. Others complained about the sleepless nights.
At the CB2 meeting, Ortiz, at one point, ran up to the seated panel and hollered in their faces, drawing a rebuke.
“I know I’m out of turn, according to the Bluebook rules, but I just found what you did to be very intimidating, coming straight at me. I did not appreciate that and I thought it was incredibly rude and intimidating and I just wanted you to know that,” said Georgia Silvera Seamans of the Parks/Waterfront Committee, The Post reported.
Longtime residents of the Washington Square Park neighborhood, however, fired back at the rowdy attendees and party-goers at the meeting, many of whom travel in from outside the area.
“There’s been plenty of irrational stuff going on. I’d like to think I’m being reasonable; I think most of us would like to be reasonable,” Bill Warren, 69, told the meeting, The Post reported. “It’s not reasonable to have 200 decibels at 2 a.m. every night.”
Another resident said she won’t go into the park anymore because it is filled with homeless people and there allegedly is rampant drug use.
“I have lived in this neighborhood for 45 years, I don’t walk near that park now,” the resident, Mary Quinlan, said. “I stopped doing that probably about five or six months ago because I was so disturbed by what I was seeing here, and the things that I was hearing from the neighborhood.”
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