Thursday, June 30, 2016

Man, 24 Shot In Bronx Playground - Second Shooting In 7 Days In An Unlocked Park


By Geoffrey Croft

For the second time in a week a Bronx resident was shot in an unlocked playground, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

A 24-year-old male was shot in the hip last night in Mount Hope Playground on E. 177 St. at Walton Avenue near the basketball courts  according to police. 

The incident occurred a little after 9:15 pm in a crowded plalyground within the convines of the 44 pct. 

The victim was transported to St. Barnabus Hospital and is expected to live.

Police found two shell casings at the scene. 

According to witnesses people came running out from the nearly pitch black playground yelling and scattering in all directions.  Parents were pushing baby carriages trying to get away as fast as they could from the hectic scene.

Residents who live directly across the street from the popular park said they heard the sound of the gun shots among the bursts of firework pops which are heard frequently this time of year throughout the neighborhood.

“We heard shots, we’ve used to it,” said one resident. "They sound different from fireworks."

The victim told police he heard shots and then felt pain, stating that the shooter was unknown.

“That’s the story he told us,” an incredulous officer said at the scene. “He’s not telling us.”

Residents say the playground’s wrought iron fences are never locked at night.  

“Its always packed but there are no lights. If they aren’t going to lock it they should put lights on the basketball court and a camera,” said one resident. 

“Isn’t it supposed to be locked at night,” a mother of two asked.  

“They don’t lock it but yet if they catch you in there they arrest you,” she said.

Last Thursday night a 26-year-old male was shot twice while he was on the basketball courts in an unlocked Arcilla Playground approximatly a mile away.

The victim was hit once in the right side of this torso and once in his pinky finger according to police.

One officer offered up this depressing summary of the frequency of violent incidences in parks.

“It’s the summer.” 
Locking Playgrounds

Every playground in the city that has a gate is supposed to be locked at night for safety reasons. The Parks Department deploys night lock up crews throughout the five boroughs. 

However after an alleged gang rape in an unlocked Brownsville playground in Brooklyn in January the Parks Department spokesperson lied and claimed that it wasn’t generally the agency’s policy to lock them at night.

“Playgrounds are not typically locked,”  Parks Department spokesman Sam Biederman responded in an effort to try to deflect liability when asked why that playground was left open. 

“That’s a bold face lie,” said a long time park worker who is responsible for locking up playgrounds at night.  “That’s just a lie.”

The union president who represents Park Enforcement Patrol officers also slammed the de Blasio administration for allowing the Parks Department to disseminate false misinformation at the time of the January incident.  

“Why isn’t the Parks Department locking its playgrounds at night?” asked Joe Puleo, president of DC 37 Local 983. 

“When did they implement this supposed new policy change or is it just limited to playgrounds in certain areas of Brooklyn?”  
At the time of that incident Parks Commissioner Mitchel Silver was also asked why the parks’ press spokesperson was giving false statements to the media and whether it was he or someone else who was instructing him to lie. 

Commissioner Silver did not respond.

Read More:

A Walk In The Park -  June 24, 2016  - By Geoffrey Croft

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