Alice Muniz, Gay Officers Action League Christine C. Quinn, President, New York City Council Honorable Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City (by email form)
Last night, after dinner in the Village, a friend and I were walking and came to Christopher Park. The gates were wide open and there were other people there. We walked in and sat on a bench to talk and enjoy the beautiful evening. Tourists passed through and posed with the statues and people sat on benches. It was quiet and peaceful.
Between 10 and 10:30 police officers came into the park shining lights in peoples faces and saying the park was closed. We got up to leave and one officer (I regret I didn't get his badge or name, but he was the only one in a white shirt) demanded to see ID. I started getting my driver's license from my wallet and my friend asked why he needed to show ID. The officer didn't explain why he just demanded again. My friend insisted to know why. Then the officer in the white shirt instructed another officer to cuff him. I had seen the other officer get the cuffs out at the ready the first time my friend asked why. My friend did not do anything physical, he was only verbal and he was not insulting, but he was insistent on knowing why he was being treated like a criminal.
He was placed under arrest and pushed into an unmarked car. As he was getting into the car he looked at me and said "he called me queen."
I went to the 6th Precinct and inquired about his status. Officer Leahy, badge 18943, told me he was the one who cuffed my friend. I asked him if he was the one who called my friend a "queen" and he said no. Officer Leahy told me that it would take about three hours to process my friend at the precinct, then he would be taken to Central Booking and by that time no judge would be available so he would spend a night in jail. I informed him that I was a YouTube video director and that I was going to post a video about this as soon as I got home. For whatever reason, my friend was released about an hour later with a summons.
My friend says he does not think Leahy is the one who cuffed him. I don't know if there was some bait and switch going on or what the source of the confusion is.
The facts are that the park was physically open and the list of rules is on a dark plaque against dark shrubbery and not noticeable at night. Within 30 minutes after leaving the precinct, I rode by the park in a cab and it was wide open again.
If it is so important to public safety to keep people out of that park after dusk (whatever time that is), why don't they get locks that work? The locks looked unmolested to me and the gates were wide open. And why isn't the closing time posted more prominently at the entrance? Is this some scam so the city can make more money?
Why can't people just be asked to leave and not treated like criminals?
I asked the officer in charge why they needed to see ID. He answered with a question, "How can I write a summons without ID?" Well, I didn't see them write any summonses. They didn't write me one. Is this selective enforcement? Is it only because they perceived my friend to be gay? And even if all was legit, which I doubt, they have no right to use an anti-gay slur when they make an arrest.
I keep reading the City wants to encourage tourism for the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. This kind of behavior combined with the entrapment arrests at the video stores in Chelsea is not helpful. I have advised my friends to stay away because NYPD is hostile to gay people. Not 30 yards from Stonewall, no less.
"Your standards are quite high. Kudos to ya.
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