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October 12, 2015- by Steven E. Greer
In the year or so leading up the cold winter of 2011, the PEP officers, then under the command of Captain Falcon, were harassing normal residents of Battery Park for simply walking their dogs. They had become misguided somehow and seemed to relish in the bullying.
It all culminated in a showdown between activist resident Adam Pratt, a dog owner, and a female PEP officer. The PEP, at the time, had a policy of asking ID from virtually any dog owner, regardless of whether they had a leash on or not. Mr. Pratt refused to show her an ID, was then gang tackled by several PEP, and arrested. He sued, and four years later the case was settled.
Those officers were removed from our community or fired. Captain Falcon eventually was removed as well, thanks to BatteryPark.TV reporting and official complaints.
Now, the problem of the untrained misguided rogue PEP is recurring. The new leader of the gang is female Captain Paige Lerner.
On September 7, 2015, we published the story “Busted: Our Missing PEP found“. It detailed how Captain Lerner was spotted outside of her jurisdiction in another park, along with other PEP who all should have been patrolling our parks. We have also published several other scathing reports on the missing PEP.
A month later, at the October 6th CB1 meeting, Captain Lerner was sitting next to a new sergeant named William Guzman. She was seen whispering into his ear, notifying him of whom I was, then avoiding eye contact (This fact is important to help you understand the comment by Guzman in the video, above. The unedited version is found here.).
Fast forward to tonight, October 12th, at 9:44 PM. Two men were smoking pot in Rector Park and BP.TV called the PEP office. Knowing that they now have a policy of ignoring pot smoking in the parks, we walked to the PEP office on West Thames to see whether they would respond at all. We spotted three NYPD officers standing by the water on the esplanade rail and decided to tell them about the pot smokers.
After that, we saw several PEP officers loitering, watching the fireworks, ignoring our report called in nearly 10-minutes previously. We entered the PEP office to ask the officer at the desk why numerous PEP were loitering outside rather than reporting to the call. The desk officer ignored us and we left.
Upon leaving, Sergeant Guzman approached us and walked within one foot, clearly trying to be intimidating. He proceeded to interrupt and be belligerent. We walked away, and he stalked us. Then, he told us to leave public property making up some lame accusation that we were disturbing the peace.
After the PEP altercation with Mr. Pratt in 2011, the lawsuit, and bad press that ensued, the BPCA and city parks made radical changes in the staff. The bullying subsided.
Now, the problem seems to be coming back. Dog owners have made complaints about the same PEP harassing them in The Battery south of Battery Park.
Please send us emails about your experiences. Better yet, send us video.