New details have emerged in the attack of a female Park Enforcement Officer (PEP) in Washington Square Park on Thursday, February 10th. PEP Officer Brooks was attacked by a homeless male described as an emotionally disturbed person (EDP) at approximately 11:30am.
The officer, working solo, was sitting in a vehicle when she was approached by multiple park patrons complaining of man harassing people in the park, according to city sources.
The man was reportedly going up to people making gestures like he was going to hit them. One patron said "Hey this guy is going to hurt somebody, you have to say something to this guy. "
The officer observed the perpetrator startling people as they walked through the park including two nannies with strollers, causing one to nearly tip over. At that point the officer called out to the man telling him to stop. He began to run towards the car. The officer tried to use the car door as a shield. The irate male started pushing the officer, and the car door back and forth against her. He tried to push her back into the vehicle. Officer Brooks called for additional back-up units.
The man began shouting profanities, "Get the F**k back in the car, Get the F**k back in the car, you're not going to arrest me."
With no back-up in close proximity, and no one from the public intervening, the officer was alone.
As the officer was trying to reach for her baton the irate man raised his hands as if he was going to fist-fight her but instead kicked her in the stomach.
She tried to grab him but he got away. Officer Brooks followed the assailant out of the park for about a block but did not pursue further as back-up had still not arrived.
The area was searched but no arrests have been made. The officer is reportedly taking a few days off.
PEP officers have often highlighted the need for additional training to deal with EDP's.
"We need to be better trained on these crises situations," a PEP officer said, "They briefly go through that stuff in the academy. They really don't focus on that enough. They focus more on summons writing and paper work. But we're out there in the field and your supervisor or next person to help is fifteen minutes away. In ten or fifteen minutes you could be seriously injured - that's just too long. The response time for officers is just too long. Something has to be done."
Additional Park Violence
This incident follows a vicious assault on a tourist by an EDP in the men's bathroom a few weeks earlier in the park. The tourist, believed to be French, was punched in the face and left bloodied, and knocked out on the floor. The assailant is reportedly a park regular. No arrests have been made in that incident either.
On September 1, 2010 a man used a bike to assault a PEP officer in the park. The officer was taken to Beth Israel Hospital where he was treated and released. The assailant was arrested for assault and disorderly conduct - Geoffrey Croft