Lack of Security Cited
By Geoffrey Croft
A wild melee ensued with park employees barricading the front door of a recreation center to prevent warring factions from gaining access to each other.
The altercation occurred last night just after 6:00pm at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center at 7th Avenue South and Clarkson Street.
The incident began inside the pool when a teen, described as a 16 or 17 began arguing with a woman who was outside with her family, including her two young brothers, in James J. Walker Park.
"She kept threatening her, cursing and saying she was from Brooklyn," a city employee said at the scene.
The abusive pool patron was asked to leave by park employees and escorted outside where the women met.
A crowd formed.
The abusive teen was yelling and screaming and began spraying the crowd with pepper spray.
"Everybody got maced but her intended target, including the target's little brothers," said a source.
"She maced my brothers, she maced my brothers, " the woman kept saying.
A park worker was also sprayed during the fight.
Park employees brought the young children inside the building and helped wash the stinging spray out of their eyes.
The woman tried to get inside the building as did the assorted families members and friends were were now involved.
"It was crazy for about 15- 20 minutes. They were trying to get inside the building. We had to close the door and push up against it so they couldn't get in."
Multiple NYPD units responded but the assailant slipped away before police arrived.
EMS transported six people to Beth Israel Hospital.
Several park employees questioned the security arrangements at the pool noting there were no NYPD officers or PEP officers stationed at the time of the incident. The NYPD police presence they say is "on and off." They also note there are no PEP officers assigned there on weekends after 5:00pm. when the recreation center is closed, only CSA "park security."
"It's normally pretty quiet but you never know. Having a uniformed presence is certainly a deterrent, " an employee stated.