Yacahudah "Y.A' Harrison, one of the seven men ticketed for playing chess at Emerson Playground in Inwood Hill Park sits with Jayson Jones, 8, a boy he has taught to play. Mr. Harrison was ticket in the playground located at the corner of W 207th St and Seaman Ave in Manhattan. Under Parks Department rules playgrounds are off-limits to adults without children under 12. The rule - meant to protect children from illegal activity - is arbitrarily enforced. Each year hundreds of thousands of people - if not more - eat lunch, read, study, and use park bathrooms located inside playgrounds without receiving fines or incident. (Photo: Carla Zanoni/DNAinfo)
Jayson's Mother, Jackie Rodriguez-Jones, 36, told A Walk In The Park, "I don't want them to move away from this playground. That's the main reason we were all taking about how upset we were that they got ticketed."
My eight year old son asked, "'So mom what do we do now, where do we play chess?"' That was my main concern. This is a positive element in this playground - I've been here thirty years."
A group of 20 children, parents and residents rallied Saturday in support of the seven chess players who were ticketed by the NYPD for playing chess in Inwood Hill Park this October, according DNAinfo.
Although the Parks Department initially asked the protesters to leave the playground area where they gathered, workers ultimately installed picnic tables in another area of the park where they said chess play would be allowed.
"They put that table in the wrong place," said a Parks supervisor, referring to the chess tables near the playground where the ticketed men had set up their game.
Earlier this week, the NYPD's top spokesman defended the tickets, saying two of the men had prior arrests and that police were being unfairly persecuted in the community for doing their job.
"We’re here to support the guys," said event organizer Jackie Rodriguez-Jones, 36, who brought one of the players a card and chess pieces as a gift from her and her eight-year-old son Jayson Jones.
"Thank you for teaching my son and I good chess tactics," read the card addressed to the players. "You guys are a positive element in the community."