Friday, October 21, 2016

Man Dies After Climbing Brooklyn Playground Fence


Police responded to a 911 call yesterday at 7:40am for an unresponsive male in a Brighton Beach Playground.

A witness told police the man fell while trying to climb a fence near the basketball courts inside Grady Playground, behind Grady High School in Brighton Beach.

EMS pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police say the man had no ID on him when they found him.

The investigation is ongoing.

The death occured within the confines of the 60 Pct.

The Daily News first reported the incident.

Bronx High School of Science Student Arrested For Threatening Reporter Over Harris Feild Fight Club Story

Dangerous game

Bronx High School of Science students square off in Harris Field, a Parks Department property across from the school.  Fellow classmates filmed and cheered on the violence.  A  secret Facebook group hidden from the public called “Savage Season” was used to promote the fights and posted footage of the vile competitions. The fights went on for several years without interference from school officials. One parent who pulled her child out of the school said she told several officials at the school but she was told they were powerless to take action because it was off of school property.   


By Geoffrey Croft

A 16-year-old Upper East Side junior at Bronx High School of Science student has been arrested for threatening a Daily News reporter following an expose about an underground fight club run by kids from the elite school. 

Wataru Takada was charged with misdemeanor aggravated harassment after he surrendered to police with an attorney on Wednesday evening.  

He was given a desk appearance ticket and is expected to be back in court on Dec. 9. This was the teen’s first arrest, officials said.

The reporter, Ben Chapman received more than a hundred messages including Facebook threats, texts and more than two dozen crank phone calls after a series in the Daily News detailed the vile existance of the organized brawls in Harris Field a public park across the street from one the city's most prestigious schools.     

The reporter’s home address along with a photo of his residence were also posted on the “Savage Season” group’s uncovered secret Facebook page.

Chapman has been covering the education beat for the paper for years.
The NYPD launched an investigation into the fight club.

A private Facebook group called, “Savage Season”  was created to promote the fights and post videos of the fisticuffs.

Videos of 11 separate fights were posted.

Last Thursday Bronx High School of Science principal Jean Donahue apologized to the reporter after students repeatedly harassed him with threatening online messages and voicemail insults. 

The brawls were reported to two deans and a guidance councilor at Bronx High School of Science which school officials apparently do not dispute.

The Education Department, told the News in a statement, “The non-school-related incidents took place last year and were reported to the NYPD.”
A mother of a former student told the paper that said she informed school officials about the fights four months earlier but the administrators insisted they were powerless because the fights were in the park.

Image result for Put up Your Dorks NY Daily News
The October 12, 2016  Daily News front-page story detailed the vile "Fight Club" in which students from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science participated in fighting in Harris Field near the school.   The unfortunate  “Put Up Your Dorks!”  headline detracted from otherwise solid story and reporting. The editor who wrote the headline left the paper two days after it was published. 

Read/View More

New York Daily News - October 20, 2016 - By Lisa L. Colangelo, Thomas Tracy 

Carmen’s combat duty: Thorough overhaul of Bronx Science leadership in fight club's wake
New York Daily News - October 14, 2016 - Editorial 

Bronx High School of Science principal apologizes to Daily News reporter over ‘fight club’ threats
New York Daily News  - October 13, 2016 - Ben Chapman, Larry McShane

New York Daily News  - October 12, 2016 - Ben Chapman, Larry McShane

New York Daily News - October 12, 2016 - By Ben Chapman 

New York Daily News - October 11, 2016 - By Ben Chapman, Edgar Sandoval,  Larry McShane  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Park Crime Soars - Mayor Says Crime Is "Rare"

Park Crime Continues To Rise. Violent crime in parks rose twenty-five percent over the last year.  Over the last twelve months 7 people were murdered, 18 were raped, 371 people were robbed, and 216 were victims of felony assaults according to the latest park crime data released by the NYPD analyzed by NYC Park Advocates.  The de Blasio administration continues to claim that park crime is, "rare."      (Click on Graphs to enlarge) 


By Geoffrey Croft

As serious crime decreases across the city violent crime in parks have soared over the last year according to the latest figures complied by NYPD and analyzed by NYC Park Advocates.    

Six hundred and twelve people reported being the victims of violent crimes in city parks over the last twelve months compared to four hundred and eighty-eight over the previous period, an increase of 25 percent.  

Park Crime is up significantly in all four violent crime categories - Murder, Rape, Felony Assault and Robbery.   

Total violent crime rose from 488 to 612, a 25% increase: Felony Assault 174 to 216, up 24%: Robbery from 295 to 371, a 26% increase:  Rape from 15 to 18, up 20%: Murder went from 4 to 7 incidents, a 75% increase. 

This is the first time in the city’s history that comparative crime data for parks is available over a 24 month period. 

Over the last twelve months 7 people were murdered, 18 were raped, 371 people were robbed, and 216 were victims of felony assaults. 

As a comparison 4 people were raped, 15 were murdered, 295 were robbed, and 174 were victims of felony assaults over the previous year month period.  

Statistically a violent crime was reported 1.7 times a day according to the latest figures.

The statistics cover an eighteen month period from July 1, 2014 through June 31, 2016, the latest park crime data released by the NYPD.

The figures do not include Central Park which has its own police precinct.

The De Blasio administration continues downplay crime in parks calling them, “rare.” 

A police spokesman said that parks, “are by far the safest place in the entire universe,” and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver called the recent 23% increase in violent park crime, a “small uptick.”

Violent crime in parks rose twenty-five percent over the last year.    The city has seen unprecedented job growth recently hiring more than 15,000 full-time employees.  Protecting parks is simply not a priority. 

For years park safety advocates have called on the city to dramatically increase the number of dedicated park police but they have refused.

Individual boroughs can have as few as two PEP officers available for parol during the summer months when crime is peaking.

This year the City Council refused to allocate a penny for additional park police PEP officers despite the continued dramatic increases in park crime.  The city has however hired more than 15,000 full-time emplyees to it workforce since July 2014 the Times reported.  Park safety is simply not a priority. 

Last week the Police Department’s’ chief of detectives, Robert Boyce said they were deploring “a lot or resources “ in Central Park after the park saw 4 additional violent crimes during the month. “Special attention”  would also be paid to other city parks as well said Carlos Gomez, NYPD's chief of department at a news conference providing few details.

Six-Month Comparisons  

Total Park Crime  is up 39 %  during the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period the previous year. 

There were 156 robberies - up 36 percent,  94 Felony Assaults up 24 percent.

Second Quarter

During the second quarter 2016 alone over all Park crime jumped 44% percent in the seven categories compared to the previous one time period.
Violent Crime was up 32%,  robberies up 58% and Grand Larceny was up 60%.

The striking figures come from the latest crime data tracked by the NYPD under a 2014 law.    The NYPD is now compiling crime data from 1,155 park properties, up from just 31 parks police began tracking in 2008.

Twelve Month Data Breakdown

Violent crime breakdown -  Murder, Rape, Felony Assault, and Robbery.   

Total Crime breakdown by borough.

Source:  NYPD Crime Statistics - CompStat

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Central Park : Police Arrest Man Wanted In Attempted Rape Of Jogger


By Geoffrey Croft

Police arrested a 26-year-old Bronx man wanted in the brutal attack of a jogger in Central park on Monday night.

Police say Forest Richardson, of East 158th Street, grabbed the 27-year-old woman who was wearing headphones from behind at the park's East Drive and East 107th Street about 9:40 p.m. He dragged her into the bushes.

“Don’t scream or I will cut your throat,” the attacker said according to police

Thr attacker searched her pockets and took her cell phone. 

He unzipped her sweater and lifted her shirt above her head blocking her view and fondled her. 

He also took down her trousers and tried to rape her. After an unsuccessful attempt he got up and walked away but returned seconds later and kicked the victim in the head.

The victim sustained bruises to her face.  

When the victim realized her phone was gone she ran to 110th Street and Lenox Avenue where she sought help from two cops manning a command post at the park's entrance. 

Police traced the phone using the I-Phone app.

Richardson was arrested this morning at 2:00am.  He was charged with  attempted rape, robbery, sex abuse, assault and criminal possession of stolen property.

Black Park Worker Made To Clean Dog Feces From Shoes Of White Artist In Mayor's Park

City Park Worker Tasheema Chatman said she felt, “completely humiliated and degraded,” after she was recently called to clean dog feces from the shoes of an art vendor in Carl Schurz Park during the Grace Square Art Show.  City workers say for years they have been required to scrub dog feces from the ground which means on thier hands and knees during the two day art show of the privately sponsored event.  (Photo By: Geoffrey CroftNYC Park vocates.) Click on images to enlarge


By Geoffrey Croft

An African American mother of two was “humiliated and degraded” after she was called to clean dog feces with a toilet brush from the shoes of an artist after he stepped in canine excrement, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The 40-year-old Parks Department City Parks Worker (CPW) said she was called to 86th Street and East End Ave just before her lunch break by one of the park’s caucaian supervisors to clean what she thought was dog crap from the side walk. 

When she arrived she was horrified to learn that the dog crap was on a shoe of an artist selling at the show instead. 

Tasheema Chatman said she was made to scrub the bottom of the artist’s black European bought shoes with a toilet brush while her two caucaian supervisors watched near by.  

The humiliating incident occurred at the tony Gracie Square Art Show in Carl Schurz Park,  mere yards away from where the Mayor and his African American wife Chirlane reside.

On Sunday, October 4th Ms. Chatman said she received a call from supervisor John Heimerle to come over to booth 75 because there was poop in the area.

She came from several blocks away with a bucket and toilet brush and fresh cleaning solution.  When she arrived she asked them were the poop was. 

“When I get there there was no poop on the ground,” she said.

"Poop Crew" City Park Workers Laura Velasco, (l) and Tasheema Chatman (r)  on Saturday, October 1st, at The Gracie Square Art Show the day before the incident.  The Carl Schurz Park Conservancy took the photos for pr purposes according to the workers. 

She said the artist commented, ‘I asked your supervisor to come over here because I have poop on my shoe,’”  he reportedly said.
The artist said,  ‘I need your to help me clean the poop off of my shoe.’” 

He said, “can you help me scrub it,” which meant can you do it for me she explained.

She said she knelt down before the artist. He took off one his black, European bought shoes and held it up.  She proceeded to scrub the bottom of the sole with a toilet brush with the cleaning solution.

She walked away when she said the artist began to take off his other shoe to check to see if there was dog crap on the other one.

“He took off his other shoe to smell it to see if there was poop on that shoe for me to clean that one too, ” she said. 

“I walked away because I didn’t want to black out,” she said. It was just too much I walked away.  I collected my thoughts."

Afterwards, she called supervisors  Heimerle and Steven Digiovanni to come talk to her.

Seh explained how she was feeling.

“I felt had been violated at that point, cleaning peoples shoes. Even though it was extreme for us to be out there cleaning up poop with a scrub brush but that’s what they want us to do during the art show.

I felt completely humiliated and degraded. My reaction was, “Why I’m I cleaning the poop off of someone’s shoe. This is crazy , I can’t believe I’m cleaning someone else's shoes.  I know this is not in my job specs that’s  what  was going through my mind, I felt humiliated and degraded ”  

And the supervisors she said were standing right there watching. 

“John and Steve were fully aware he had poop on his shoe,"  she said.

“I didn’t feel like I had a choice (not to do it) because John’s supervisor was standing right there, so I felt like I had to do it like it was a direct order.  I figured it was a direct order if I didn’t to it I wouldn’t be following the rules.   I was afraid I would get written up.

They didn’t stop it. They should have stopped it,” she said of her supervisors.

Afterwards she broke down in the bathroom and cried after the incident.  Her colleagues consoled her.  

Embarrassed she finally came forward after speaking to her family whom she credits with giving her the strength to speak about it.

She said her mother who wanted to go to the job site to confront her supervisors. 

Tasheema has two kids, a fifteen year-old son and a six year-old daughter with autism. She said she cried with her family several times.

Baltimore based artist Christos Palios said he was told several times by someone associated with the park/Gracie Square Art Show, the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy when he brought up the dog feces issue that the park has a service to deal with dog crap. 

Meaning park workers.

“She was very accommodating and willing,”  Christos Palios said  of  Ms. Chatman when reach by phone.

“We knelt down I felt uncomfortable a little bit the whole time but I thought it was just going to be a fifteen or twenty-second thing which it was and that was that,” he said. 

“What bothers me universally is that she had a choice just to say no, no, no.  I mean I didn’t order her I asked her actually a couple of times I said are you sure, and I just thought she had helped someone else with it or, or it was no big deal.  You know and as I told you I felt uncomfortable the whole time. ” 

He said several times that he offered to help clean but, “she insisted.

“It was just,  “two people helping each other,” Palios said several times.

“New Yorkers don’t clean up their dog poo,” he said. 

“I’m upset that someone feels that way that’s what this comes down to,” he said.

"This is dully noted….I’m not even going to think about allowing somebody to do that in the future,”  he said regarding lessons learned.     

Ms. Chatman categorically denies he offered in anyway to help clean or that she insisted. 

“Why would I do that,  that makes no sense,”  she said she wouldn’t be here if he had.

“That’s not the version that really happened she said. "He asked me could I do it.  No he didn’t suggest could he do it because I would have liked for him to clean his own shoes. I mean I wouldn’t even be here.”  

Common sense should have dictated how a human being would feel having to do that Chatman says.

"The Park Department has gotten away with mistreating people for so long without repercussion they don’t even know what’s right or wrong.  It’s insane,” said Dilcy Benn, president of Local 1505 which represent City Park Workers.

"No one should have do those things in order to have a job. I feel really bad for her as person.”

To add insult injury there are grumblings among some workers that Angelo Figueroa one the main people involved in the so called Boom boom room scandal on Randall’s Island was not only not fired but promoted.  

Mr. Figueroa is now assigned out of Carl Schurz Park as well.  The city quietly settled out of court with one of the victims, Valerie Marville. 

Ms. Chatman, like many other minority park workers had hoped the racial and sexual harassment issues that have long been systemic within the agency would improve under the new commissioner and new mayor but say the reforms that have long been desperately needed have not occurred. They have the wrong priorities she says.

“This happened two blocks from the Mayor’s home,”  said Tasheema who has worked on and off for the Parks Department since 2007.

“I would thought that having a black commissioner, us having a mayor with a black wife a lot of things would have changed in parks but it hasn’t. Everything is still the same.  Their views of minorities working in the Parks Department haven’t changed they still treat us the same way,” she says.

“Sexual harassment  is a big issue and racial insensitivity is a very big issue in the Parks Department and it has been for a very long time," she continued. 

“Workers like me and others are kind of scared and intimated to say something, scared that you are going to get written up or lose their job if you say something to the wrong person. They’re scared to step forward and speak up for themselves and that’s why a lot of things happen in the Parks Department and its been happening for years.  You are intimated by the ones who have been there for so long and they know this and that’s why they get away with it.  

They use their power to intimidate us. They really do.”

Ms. Chatman received a transfer to another park district at her request. 

The Parks Department refused comment despite several requests.

Read More:

 I-Team: New York City Parks Employee Allegedly Forced to Clean Dog Poop
WNBC - October 13, 2016 - By Pei-Sze Cheng 

City Parks Department worker forced to clean dog poop off artist’s fancy shoes, says it was ‘humiliating' 
New York Daily News - October 13, 2016 By Reuven Blau  

Park worker forced to clean dog poop off artist’s shoe
New York Post - October 13, 2016 - By Shawn Cohen, Kenneth Garger and Gina Daidone

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Central Park: Jogger Beaten, Sexually Assaulted, Robbed Last Night


By Geoffrey Croft

A 27-year-old jogger was beaten and robbed at approximately 10:40pm last night near the East Drive between 103-104th Street.   

She was attacked from behind, dragged into a wooded area, punched, kicked in the head, sexually fondled, and robbed of her I-Phone.  

A ping on her phone was last located in the Bronx.

The assailant is described as a male black, mid 30’s, thin build, scruffy and possibly wearing a black jacket.

Yesterday five men robbed and beat a 47-year- old man riding a Citi-Bike less than ten blocks south on the East drive.

Police believe the same group is responsilbe for robbing a 21-year-old in the park on Friday night.  

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Thieves Steal Bulldozer Destroy Park Police Vehicle In Brooklyn Bridge Park

An overturned Parks Enforcement Patrol vehicle was discovered totaled early Saturday morning in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Photos: NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

UPDATE: A careless construction crew member working in Brooklyn Bridge Park left an unsecured piece of heavy equipment on Friday night.  

Sometime overnight vandals stole a fork lift and destroyed 2015 Nissan Leaf electric park police vehicle car, NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

The thieves upended the car near the parking lot at the headquarters of the Brooklyn Bridge Park at 334 Furman Street. 

The police vehicle was charging at the time.

PEP officers discovered the destruction on Saturday morning.

According to the police report an unknown perp used a construction vehicle to flip the vehicle over. 

Police are reviewing surveillance footage of the incident. They believe it occured sometime between 2- 8am Saturday morning.

A representative for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation said the Bob Cat fork lift does not require a key but instead a knowledge of how to turn on the vehicle which is done through a series of sequence numbers on a key pad.

The representative estimates the time of the incident of between 3-4 am.