Friday, December 8, 2017

Homeless Man Attacks Park Police In Historic Rec. Center



Security Questioned at Recreation Center After Violent Incident. Two PEP officers were injured at the Asser Levy Recreation Center on November 27th when an emotional disturbed homeless man attacked them while attempted to place the man under arrest.  The suspect has six prior arrests.

The problems, officers say, were compounded by lax security at the center as well as  PEP's response to scene which was impeded by faultily city vehicles which delayed them getting to the scene in time to help their fellow officers.   (Photos By: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft

A disturbed homeless man attacked park police in a historic public recreation center, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Officers were repeatedly struck by a 6’3, 220 pound emotionally disturbed man wielding a 2x4 piece of wood. They were also hit several times with fists and elbows while they  attempted to place the man under arrest. 

Park Enforcement Patrol officers were assigned to a special detail on November 27th at the Asser Levy Recreation Center on E. 23rd Street to find Robert Robinson, 54,  who had previously threatened to stab center employees, repeatedly trespassed and caused disturbances inside the historic recreational facility.   

"He’s known to be a little hot headed, disorderly and violent," an officer said speaking on the condition of anonymity, like everyone interviewed, out for fear of reprisals from the agency.     

The day before the officers had warned Robinson that he was trespassing and he was going to be arrested if he came back.

The suspect, who one officer described as having the physique of a "linebacker," told them that he was going to enter the building the next day at 6:00am and, "he’s going see who’s going to stop him,” an officer said, adding, 'if he was going to be asked to leave he was going to fight somebody,’”  an officer recalled the suspect as saying. 

"This individual was very determined,”  an officer said.  “He advised us that he was going to come back the next morning and go in there one way for another. "

NYPD arrested him in August for trespassing at the center.

Just after 7:00am officers entered the building and asked the parks' employee manning the front desk if anyone had entered the building that was not member.

“I don't know” the worker responded according to officers.

Officers split up and began patrolling the building.  One spotted him taking a shower on the second floor and waited for his partner.

They approached him in the locker room after he was dressed and informed him that he was trespassing   

Officers tried to verbally coax him outside but he wouldn’t comply and became violent.

"Get the F**k out of here,”  said and began threatening the officers.

While officers instructed him to get on the floor and place his hands behind his head he said they were going to get into a fight he said, “You guys are going down,” an officer recounted.  

“He grabbed a 2x4 piece of wood from a window and began swingingly wildly."

Officers attempted to deplore pepper spray but both malfunctioned, and just trickled out according to officers.

"He was just wiping it off his face, like it was nothing.” 

Officers were hit several times with the wood and fists and elbows.  

While officers were trying to get him down and place his arms behind his back he tossed them off.

"I don’t know where he got his strength from but like you see in the movies he threw us both off him.” 

He took off.  He leaped down a flight of stairs and ran out of the building.

Officers gave chase but he disappeared in Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village.

After the incident authorities discovered ID’s and credit cards belonging to other people in large duffle bags found in four lockers he occupied.

Two days later NYPD arrested him up for smoking K2 synthetic marijuana on 29th Street & Park Avenue South. 

He was charged with Two counts of Assault on a Peace Officer and one count of Possession of a deadly Instrument with Intention to Cause Serious Physical Injury.

He is being held on $ 5,000 bail.

On Monday Robinson was indicted by a Grand Jury.  It is being determined whether he is fit to stand trial.  

He arraignment date in Supreme Court is December 19th. 

NYPD arrested him for trespassing in August.

City employees say Robinson and his female partner often sleep on the steps of the Historic Recreation Center.

Employees said she tried to gain access to the center on Wednesday to use the bathroom but was informed she was no longer allowed.

Security Breach  

The incident also highlights glaring security issues at the center.

Officers questioned why Robinson was being allowed to endanger not only the general public but other park employees by repeatedly being allowed inside without a membership.

When officers first arrived at the center last week the first thing they did was find the Parks Department employee at the front desk who is responsible foe scanning member ID’s.  They asked if anyone had entered the building who was not member.

"His response was, "'I don't know.’

"Your main function at that facility is to ensure that only members enter in and out," an  irate officer said. “He failed to do that." 

“So you’re telling me you don’t know?  It’s a security breach.  Anybody could be going in and out of the building.     

The department needs to be made aware of this,  You put the safety of the general public in jeopardy. 

Robinson told officers the center was feeding him free lunches during the summer, allowing him to shower and store his belongings for years. 

"The rec center personal was allowing him to come and go as he pleases for a really long time, in his head he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong," an officer said.

Several park employee said Robinson and a female partner often sleep on the steps of the center.  

There was also another factor why the police were not being call more frequently, fear. 

Several park employees said there was a reluctance among center workers to call 911 because they felt intimidated.

A center employee at the front desk this week said he is often the only employee when the center opens in the morning.  

"If I’m the only one here he’ll know it was me who called police,” the employee said.

Center personal also say that security is often non-existent and that they didn’t have a PEP officer for a month before the incident. They say they often rely on City Seasonal Aids (CSA's) for security who are not peace officers and have little training or authority. 

Responding To The Scene

Officers said they called agency's Central Communications for backup, a 10-13, several times during the ordeal including instructing them to call 911 but help didn’t arrive for approximately 15- 20 minutes. 

Several PEP officers responding to the emergency call had a disastrous time getting to the location due to inadequate vehicles they say.

A PEP officer coming from Hudson River Park (HRP) driving a Ford Escape with more than 144,000 miles stalled three times on the FDR Drive responding to the distress call. 

Another vehicle driven by a Manhattan North Sgt. hit a pot hole which knocked out the lights and sirens.

Another vehicle PEP is forced to use in HRP was parked on W. 23rd St. when the call came over but the "pizza delivery” style truck has no lights and sirens and has to follow normal traffic laws which delayed the response.   

"The response was such "cluster f**k,”  said one officer.  "Nobody got there in time.” 
"We could have gotten there in time,” the officer said.  

Following the incident HRP had a meeting with senior PEP management where the vehicle issue came up once again.  



2005 Ford Escape with more than 144,000 miles broke down three times while responding to the emergency call from officers.  Officers say the city vehicles impeded their ability to help their colleagues in time.

After the meeting officers at the PEP command were informed by Michael Dockett, Assistant Commissioner for Urban Park Service, and Edwin Rodriguez PEP Inspector,   that HPR said,  “There’s nothing we can do, its an HRP matter.’ 

Not true say officers who point out that HPR is in violation of their contract.  

For years the condition of PEP vehicles has been a major point of contention among officers. Officers say the issues has been brought up with no action.

"But this time people got hurt. This time two officers got beat up with nobody to get there in time to help.”  

"He picked up a two-by-four piece of wood and starting beating them,” an officer said. 

The city’s response - they took away the dangerous vehicle with 144,00 miles and replaced it with a golf cart.  

"So now the only car we have is a delivery truck with no light package. We can’t even transport prisoners in it. That’s is all we have. It's bad enough we can’t respond. This is where the terrorist attack happened.

"You can’t make this up. Nobody cares.” 


 (Photos By: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Woman Struck By Hit & Run Driver In Prospect Park

Brooklyn

A 51-year-old woman walking in Prospect Park was struck from behind by a vehicle that fled the scene according to police.

The incident occurred this morning at 4:55 a.m. on the West Drive near the Parade Grounds on the jogging path along the roadside.  

The victim, an Ocean Parkway resident, was taken to Methodist Hospital where she is being treated for a fractured spine and fractured pelvis.  

No witnesses. 

Police are checking nearby cameras to ID the vehicle.

- Geoffrey Croft

CUNY Professor Attacked After Trying To Stop Teens From Setting Fire In Staten Island Playground

Staten Island

By Geoffrey Croft

A professor at CUNY College of Staten Island was viscously beaten by a group of teens in a playground.

The victim was walking in the park when he saw a group of teenagers setting a fire and asked them to stop.

As he walked away, one of the men punched him in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground. The others punched and kicked the victim.

The victim was taken to Richmond University Medical Center where he was treated for a collapsed lung and contusions on the face.

No detailed description of the attackers.

Police are reviewing surveillance cameras and seeking information on between 10 and 12 teenagers in connection with the incident.

The incident occurred yesterday afternoon just after 12 noon inside Nicholas Lia Memorial Park at the corner of Saint Marks Place and Wall Street within the confines of the 120 Pct.

Read More:

WCBS -  December 7, 2017 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Queens Playground Gun-Point Robbery


The police released images of one of the suspects who accompanied a victim to the ATM machine.  (video below)

Queens

By Geoffrey Croft

Police are looking for two suspects wanted for a gun-point robbery in a Long-Island City playground.

The suspects approached two men in their 20s inside John F. Murray Playground  on November 29 at 6:30pm. near 45th Avenue and 11th Street.    

The robbers began a conversation  (a 23 year-old and a 24 year-old) which then turned into an armed robbery.  

One of the suspects lifted his shirt and revealed a gun in his waistband and demanded the victims’ cell phones and wallets, police said. 

 “You know what it is,” he said showing them the gun according to the police. 

The suspects then forced the 23 year-old to walk to Palace Fried Chicken on 44-45 21st St. a block away where they made him withdraw $100 from an ATM.

The suspects took the money and fled southbound on 21st Street. 

Both suspects are described as black males in their 20’s. One was wearing a grey,  blue jeans, hooded sweat shirt and red sneakers. 

The second individual (not pictured) is a male, black, in his 20s; last seen wearing a black and white varsity style jacket, black sweatpants and black sneakers.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.




Read/View More


WCBS - December 5, 2017 




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Joggers Attacked In Fort Tryon Park Near Cloisters

Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft 

Two joggers were assaulted in an attempted robbery in Fort Tryon Park according to police.

One victim was assaulted after coming to the aid of a fellow runner.  

A 47-year-old man was jogging alone inside the park when he spotted a man accosting a woman. 
He tried to defend the woman against her attacker.  The mugger had taken the phone of a 29-year-old runner.

The Good Samaritan demanded he return the phone and was punched in the face.

The incident happened inside the park on Monday morning at 9:30am.

One of the victims posted his account on Facebook.

"I would like to share what happened to me and another woman (jogger)….while we were both, independently, running through Fort Tryon Park at around 9:30 AM, Nov 27," he wrote.

The 47-year-old woman encountered a fellow jogger in the process of being robbed who was described as, "clearly in distress as she was being assaulted by a young man in the tunnel under the roadway that leads to the Cloisters,”  he wrote.

"She was crying and begged me to help her. This man had taken her phone and she told me in a panic that she was terrified because he had just hit her in the face with his fist,”  he posted.

She confronted the mugger and told him to give her phone back. 

"I was surprised when he complied and gave her phone back. Then I told him to leave the park immediately and directed him to go in the opposite direction we planned on going. 

The victim wrote that at fist the assailant complied and started to go in the opposite direction as they both began to heading south back up the hill but then he turned around and confronted both of them.

"I told the jogger to start going up the hill and blocked his path towards her. He reached in his pocket for something and indicated that he had gun or weapon in his hoodie. Whatever is was, it was protruding out of pocket but it was concealed. I thought it was just has hand but I wasn't taking any chances.     As the jogger started running up the hill I stood in his path. He approached and took his hand out of pocket and struck me in the face with his fist and whatever he had in his pocket. I was knocked over against the low stone barriers just to the west of the tunnel. I came to 5-10 seconds later and started running to catch up to the jogger. He chased us both up the hill towards the south entrance. 

A second woman who evidently had seen part of the incident was now below us. The man changed course and began to approach her back down the hill. I told the jogger to continue towards the entrance as there would certainly be more people there. The man then tried to take the 2nd woman's phone but gave up as I approached him. He ran past me toward the jogger who had stopped as she was calling the police at that point. It appeared that he was giving up as he started running toward the entrance."

Two male joggers passed in nearby Heather Gardens and she asked if they could chase the suspect down. 

The man stayed with the first victim jogger as they reached the south entrance of the park near the corner of Cabrini Place and Washington Avenue.  Police arrived minutes later. 

"About 15 minutes later the two male joggers returned and said he fled down through the stairs behind A Train station towards Broadway, but lost sight of him.  

The jogger said she too was punched in the face, but refused medical treatment. I wasn't as lucky. I spent the day in the hospital, but ultimately my injuries only amounted to bruises to my face and lacerations to my mouth and face area requiring stitches. 

I had blood all over my shirt, tights and shoes. I'm fine if a little shaken.     I hesitate to add this only because I don't know how to interpret it. The jogger told me and the police, that the man commanded her to, 'give me everything have except your shoes,' It was just after he said this to her that I came upon them. "

Her description of him is as follows:  Black male, age approximately 18-21. Approximately 5'11", slight build, short cut hair, and a wide gap in his two front teeth. 

"I am an avid runner, and run in the neighborhood 5-6 times a week. This incident will not stop me from running, anytime, anywhere in our community," he defiantly wrote. 

"I hope others feel the same way as I do. Obviously be vigilant, but do not let an outlying incident discourage you from going outside and to the parks.      I understand that it is a very different story for women running and traveling alone or even in groups. The jogger told me that she is routinely harassed by male school age youths in the area both while running and walking around.”

Read/View More:

WPIX - December 1, 2017 - By Shirly Chan



Friday, November 10, 2017

Teen Slashed, I-Phone Robbed In Brooklyn Park

Brooklyn

By Geoffrey Croft

A teen was robbed by a group of males and slashed, NYC Park Advocates has learned.   

The victim, 17, told police three men approached him in City Line Park on Wednesday at 6:40 pm.  

One of robbers grabbed him from behind, pushed him down, forcing his head to the ground.

The two other attackers riffled through his pockets taking cash and an I-phone 6. 

The victim was slashed one time on the left hand.

The assailants fled with the cash and the phone.

The victim was taken to Jamaica hospital where he was treated for the slash wound.

Central Park: Teen Gun-Point Suspects Arrested Ski Mask Robbery

Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft

The police apprehended two teen suspects wanted in last night’s gun point robbery in Central Park.

The male victim, 37, was walking alone through the park at 9:40 p.m. at East Drive near 96th Street
 wearing headphones, when a boy and girl, both 15,  came from behind and pushed him.

One of the robbers was wearing a ski mask. 

The male lifted his shirt to reveal the butt of a  380 semi-auto pistol gun tucked in his waist and demanded the victims wallet according to police. 

"Give me all your stuff," the suspect demanded.

The victim handed over the wallet. When the victim couldn't open his phone with the pass code, the male suspect pulled the gun and racked the slid as if loading a bullet in the chamber.

The victim handed over the phone and the perps fled westbound in the park.

The victim used a park patrons phone to call 911.

While he was on the phone with the dispatcher, before the call was typed out and transmitted, the alert came over the smartphone of the NYPD's plain clothes team inside the park who went to the victims location.

Police canvassed with the victim and they activated his Find-My-iphone app. Police used their department issued smart phones to track the missing phone and found it still inside the park.

Police spotted the suspects matching the description walking on West Drive near 96th Street. They spotted the police and ran. They were caught.

In a bag the female was carrying, police found the stolen wallet, the ski mask used during the robbery.

The male suspect had the ringing stolen phone in his front pants pocket and the gun still tucked in his waistband. The gun was unloaded.

The female suspect is from the Bronx and the male suspect is from Manhattan, both 15 were charged with robbery as juvenile offenders.

The victim is a Manhattan resident.