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March 1, 2011
The Community Board met tonight to discuss the proposed demolition of the Winter Garden stairs and the alleged assault of BPC resident Adam Pratt, first reported by BatteryPark.TV on January 29th. The Pratt incident was the last topic of the evening. The overwhelming consensus by the 20 or more attendees was that the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) has been behaving in “Nazi-like” fashion, asking innocent dog owners for their identification without probable cause for any violation. The terms “Nazi” and “Asked for my papers” were used at least five times by different residents.
One 16-year old female attendee testified that she was routinely the recipient of sexual advances by PEP, and when she walked away, they would ask her for her ID. Most of the other residents complaining were dog owners reporting very similar problems of the PEP asking them for ID even though their dogs were on a leash. Recall, this is what Mr. Pratt alleges happened to him.
Of note, after a Supreme Court ruling in 2004, it is now a possible criminal offense for anyone suspected of wrongdoing to refuse to identify themselves to police. However, carrying an ID is not required, and if someone is going to the gym or jogging, for examples, they cannot be arrested for not having an ID card.
Other complaints focused in the inaction of PEPs for serious problems such as violent gangs of skateboarders (known to have struck PEPs officer over the head with a skateboard and filmed assaulting a food vendor), bicyclists riding in the wrong areas of the esplanade, and PEP phone texting messages while on duty.
The new CEO of Battery Park City Authority, Gail Horwitz, promised a “Zero tolerance” to any PEPs acting badly toward residents. She said that offending officers would be relocated to other beats in the city promptly. However, all of the PEP involved in the Adam Pratt incident are still on duty as normal and have not been punished. It is unknown whether this is a defensive legal maneuver by the BPCA or City to deny any wrongdoing by the PEP.
Regarding the Adam Pratt case, the PEP internal investigators have made no attempt to reach out to the numerous witnesses reported on video and in text via the local papers and BatteryPark.TV. The PEP supervisors mentioned that they had reached out to Mr. Pratt’s civil suit lawyer. When asked why they would be contacting civil lawyers, something an NYPD detective would not do, they did not reply.