Saturday, February 12, 2011

Update: Female PEP Officer Assaulted In Washington Square Park


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

Read More:

Washington Square Park officer assaulted
NYU News - February 17, 2011 - By Ihaab Syed

New York Post - February 14, 2011 - By Jessica Simeone


  1. This is sick why is the city allowing this to happen.!!!!!

  2. The administration of the park & PEP are quite aware of how dangerous Washington Square park is, but they still allow the officers to patrol alone. I guess nothing will change until someone gets hurt or killed.

  3. How come PEP Officers are not allowed to carry firearms like NYPD? Aren't PEP OfFicers asked to deal with the same dangerous criminals like NYPD? I think it's time the Parks Dept stops sending its PEP Officers into dangerous situations without the proper means in which to defend themselves and the public.

  4. NYPD should be the ones patrolling Washington Square Park. They have the resources and the expertise to rid the park of its drug dealers, emotionally disturbed persons, drug addicts, perverts, pedophiles, felons, and homeless. However, the Parks Dept. expects one PEP Officer to deal with all those criminals alone.

  5. IS Washington Square Park dangerous? Is there evidence of that? I'd be curious to hear. I have not heard anyone say that lately.

    Cathryn - Washington Square Park Blog

  6. There have been two other assaults on PEP Officers in Washington Square Park this year alone. The Parks Dept. doesn't want the public to know how dangerous the park really is. Instead, they down play the events or deny them all together. Both the Manhattan Borough Commissioner and the Union Representative have been quoted on several articles acknowledging the presence of drug dealers roaming the Washington Square Park. Nonetheless, the Parks Dept. still assigns PEP Officers to patrol the park alone.

  7. How come PEP put all those extra officers in Washington Square Park when that lady was allowing her dogs to kill the squirrels, but still put that female officer in the park by herself? Maybe one solution is if this story can get as much attention as the squirrel killer did, then she might get the extra officers she needs to be safe.

  8. I for one would not bring my family to that park with all those drug dealers constantly trying to sell me and my children drugs. I feel sorry for the park officers who have to confront the crazies that everybody else in the park is afraid to--especially with no guns. I agree that NYPD should patrol the park because they were the ones who clean the criminals out of the park before.

  9. There was also an assault on a PEP officer during the summer that led to an arrest, which can be seen on Youtube ironically. How many people have to be assaulted before something is done? This article needs to be sent to: the Parks Commissioner, Manhattan Borough Commissioner, the Assist. Commissioner of Urban Park Service, the Park Administrator, the Inspector & Deputy Inspector of PEP, the Manhattan South Captain, and the Captain of the PEP Training Academy.

  10. The parks dept (and I'm sure the police dept as well) is well aware of the drug dealers in the park and they are fairly well known characters to people who frequent the park. I do not think they are physically harming anyone tho'. I would imagine whoever it was who assaulted one or two PEP officers was someone entirely different.

    In the winter the park is more isolated but I had not heard of these PEP officer incidents. I walked there the other day around 3 p.m. (the day before this recent incident) and it was fairly empty but I wasn't worried about walking through. I didn't see any people that seemed troubling either.

    If it's true the park is more dangerous now, yes, that is definitely being downplayed and I'm not surprised.

    In the north east corner, they have created a hill that will create a true blind spot in the park. That will be a sketchy area to walk through at night. Whereas before it was visible from the outside, now they are making 'hills' with trees as if it's a country club.

    Washington Square Park Blog

  11. Just saw that this post has been updated and read about the French tourist who was attacked and additional details on original post about PEP officer. Going to post some of this with link at my blog.

    Thanks Geoffrey for this info!

    WSP Blog

  12. This story needs to be printed in the NY Times, Daily News, and the Wall Street Journal to warn all the residents, park users, & tourists that there is a real danger inside Washington Square Park.

  13. The community board should put pressure on the Parks Dept. to take out the PEP Officers before one of them gets killed.

  14. This is just plain ridiculous. They need more PEP Officers at this park, period. PEP Officers are not armed Security Officers or the NYPD.

    So why are they alone in these dangerous situations like some common unarmed Security Guard?

    I think the Parks Dept. better get there act together 'fast' & show more concern for their officer's safety.

  15. It seems to me that the PEP Officers are assigned to the park as a target for every crazed lunatic that comes to the park. And us as park regulars don't care about what happens to them until either they do something we don't like or one of us gets hurt. We should stop treating the park as our own backyard and acknowledge the dangers that exist and pressure NYPD to patrol the park. As well as have the Parks Dept. to remove PEP from this obviously dangerous park.

  16. I just finished reading the Washington Square News today and I was surprised to find out that assaults are indeed increasing in the area around Washington Square Park. I've been a student at NYU for two years now and I also avoid the park because of its many dangers. During the summer I witnessed a man hit a PEP Officer with his bike. Ever since then I walk around the park. If it's not safe for PEP officers, then how is it going to be safe for me. For anyone interested in reading the WSN article or themselves:

  17. What ever became of the officer? Is she ok? Is she still working in the park? Has any changes been made? Does anyone care?