Guardian Angels Coming to Carroll Park After "Hooliganism" Controversy
The tales of "hooliganism" in and around Carroll Park continue to reverberate. This morning on his WABC radio talkshow, Curtis Sliwa said he would be sending Guardian Angels to patrol the park. One of the issues raised by parents that related the tale of teen "hooligans" in the park and by GL readers is a slow police response to calls and complaints by residents and what has been described as a lack of concern by responding officers.
In the meantime, Borough President Marty Markowitz has also taken note of the Carroll Park "hooliganism" episode. He emails a Carroll Garden resident to say:
We have spoken to the Commander of your police precinct and to the Chief of Patrol Brooklyn South.....I am confident that you will hear directly from them and I sincerely hope that will help....MartyThe story, of course, got more traction today when it appeared in the New York Post with the headline, "Park Punks Amok, Bklyn Parent Outrage." (Writer Patrick Gallahue notes that GL first reported the story.) It describes the situation thus:
A gang of teenage hooligans has turned a quiet Carroll Gardens park in into a war zone for Brooklyn brownstone parents.One of the parents whose emails in the Bococa Parents Yahoo Group sparked the story, wrote yesterday:
For two straight days, bands of teenage terrors have run wild in Carroll Park, cursing at grown-ups and nearly catching innocent little kids in the crossfire of their rock-throwing and slap-boxing matches, several parents told The Post.
I became involved because of the teenagers' angry and aggressive reaction to the very nice lady who first asked them quite politely to move over just a bit so as not to injure our children. I might add, our children had been standing next to us for quite some time and the teenagers came over to them, not the other way around. The park, in my view, belongs to everyone, not just a couple of unruly teenagers. It isn't some sort of Hobbesian arena and we don't visit it at their pleasure...GL is going to now go out on a limb and guess that one probably won't be able to bend over and pick up a toy in Carroll Park in coming days without seeing someone in an NYPD uniform. Or a Guardian Angel. Or both. We'll also guess that if someone unfortunately has to call 911 from the park again there will be a somewhat faster response. Now, if someone can address the issue of setting up more constructive activities for neighborhood kids and providing them with more places for supervised recreation, we'd really be making progress.
Did I believe these teenagers would respond so badly? No. Should we have walked out of the park without saying a word to them? It certainly would have proved easier and safer. But I don't doubt some other family would have drawn their attention quickly enough.
I called 911 because these teenagers continued to seek us out and to escalate the situation. I also believed, because of their reaction, that they were likely a danger to others in the park, even if we left.
I stuck around because I was told by dispatch to "wait" at the park and that officers were "on their way." I called them twice again because the police were apparently not on their way, I didn't particularly want to stick around forever, and the situation was getting worse. Once we left the gated children's area and had to move through this gauntlet in order to head home, I believed it was quite possible someone -- either one of our children or one of these teenagers -- could wind up hurt while accomplishing that goal. I did not want that to happen.
UPDATE: WABC's George Weber, who anchors the news in morning, emailed to say that it looks like there are eight police officers in Carroll Park as of 3PM. He writes "I walked thru carroll park at 3pm and they had...four cops (this never happens), two community service cops (in white shirts) and two uniformed cops patrolling the park." Plans to send the Guardian Angels are on hold given the, uh, police presence in the park.
Labels: Carroll Gardens