A naked, emotionally disturbed man wielding a knife in a Harlem playground had to be subdued by cops with a Taser on Thursday after he ignored their orders to drop the weapon,
The John Doe was wearing a shirt and boxers when he stumbled into Martin Luther King playground near Lenox Ave. and 114th St. carrying a knife and mumbling to himself.
Witnesses said he shoved an older man to the ground and then went to the sprinklers. Heedless of the kids around him, he stripped off his clothes.
“He goes to the sprinkler and gets butt naked. (A group of guys) were chasing him but they didn't want to get into the water,” said Asia Bright, 25, who was at the park with her 4-year-old daughter. Concerned citizens chased the men out of the playground and away from the families as cops picked up the chase.
Police pepper-sprayed the man, who stood about six feet tall with a solid build. He appeared to be in his 40s but was unaware of his surroundings. He shook off the pepper-spraying and kept walking, with the knife clutched in one hand.
protect her 5-year-old and 6-month-old daughters. “It's a nice day. You are out in the park and next thing you know there's a naked man with a knife,” Johnson said. “One second there were kids playing, then we were all running.”
A female police officer pulled her gun out and yelled “Stop, stop,” witnesses said. But the man just veered in another direction and kept moving.
Tim Vocals, 25, said the stark-naked man wound up on the corner of 114th St. and Lenox Ave.
“He was doing his money dance, butt naked in front of the cop,” Vocals said.
“They Tasered him and he fell hard, like fried chicken. He was shaking on the ground. They fried him,” Vocals said.
Video of the incident shows a bevy of cops following the man along the street as he muttered under his breath, ignoring their calls to stop.
When he stood on a clear patch of sidewalk, cops shot a Taser at his back. He dropped the knife and froze, then fell backwards, slamming his head hard on the concrete. Cops cuffed him and later loaded him into an ambulance.
He was charged with assault, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and public lewdness. Police were unable to identify him at the time of his arrest since he carried no identification.
New York Daily News - September 5, 2014 - By Edgar Sandoval, Joseph Stepansky, Ginger Adams Otis