The Public Responds to the Columbus Park Arrest

Posted on: May 11th, 2011 at 12:37 am by

While conclusive facts haven’t completely surfaced about the arrest of an older gentleman in Columbus Park this past Sunday, a multitude of residents have already voiced their opinions loud and clear (53 comments and counting). Expect the mainstream media to pick this story up any second.

What we know for sure is that a Facebook event was created in an attempt to organize residents to attend the 5th Precinct Community Council on May 25, held at the 5th Precinct Station House.

As many have commented, the video starts roughly halfway through the incident, so it is not clear what led to this encounter. As reader Obvious noted:

if the situation was handled properly then there would be no need for ppl to complain about the situation. but for obvious reasons, the person video taping this found that the situation was not being handled properly and thus started video taping it as soon as he/she could.

So where does this story bring us? So far we’ve seen race, gentrification, excessive force, and general crowd control mentioned. Many things to (intelligently and respectfully) debate.

Yet as reader Joanie Kwok puts it, “before we turn this into an Al Sharpton esque manhunt, we should find out all facts.”  And that’s precisely where Buhosd weighs in.  This commenter witnessed the whole thing go down:

In fact two of the officers at the park spoke the old man’s native language. The short officer with glasses calmly tried, unsuccessfully, for about 15 minutes to persuade the old man into taking his loud speakers and leave the park.

Of course if I post a 15 minutes video of two cops calmly talking to a 30+agitated group of  people in the park, no one will watch it.  As matter of fact, that’s not even worth recording.  Right or wrong?  But wait. What if I just delete the first 10 minutes of the boring cops talking, and the part where they asked the old man for identification and he refuses,  and when one cop tries to handcuff him and the old man assumes a fighting stance and then two more cops have to intervene and ultimately a fourth cop. Nah, that’s not good enough either. That just shows that the cops are doing what they suppose to do. So, let me just show the video when the old guy is on the floor with a bloody face. That’s for sure police brutality, isn’t it?

Did any other readers witness the same?

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  • nygrump

    This will look great on Chinese state TV!

  • Tom

    With all due respect to Buhosd, I think we will need more then a sarcastic comment to believe that this old man deserved the force necessary to bloody him. Even in his rambling, did Buhosd ever explain why the man was being arrested in the first place?? Don’t get me wrong, if a cop tells you he is arresting you because you’re Black, my advice would be to calmly put your hands behind your back and call a lawyer when you’re processed. BUT that in no way alleviates the necessity for the police to at least think of some nonsensical reason for your arrest. Nor does it mean they are in the right when they smash your face into the ground. Honestly, this is exactly why there are millions paid out in settlements every year because of police brutality.

    • Bernard Stanford

      He was arrested for performing with electronic amplification in the park without a permit. He was in violation of the law. The police did not show up to wantonly arrest, they were called in to respond to a complaint about the noise. Race may have affected the initial caller, but I don’t see how it affected the police. Some of the policemen were Chinese, so….

      Personally, I am always annoyed by those who will call racism on little or no grounds.

      • Asdasd

        You can’t arrest someone for playing the amp without a permit. You just get fined

        • Abertsam

          I see people do that in Subways and streets ALL the time. No one ever bothered them ?

          This is a police brutality plain and simple.

        • Buhosd

          You can get arrested for any violation to the law or u could get a summons. It is up to the cop’s discretion. Nevertheless, a summons is in lieu of arrest.

    • Buhosd

      For what I know, he was arrested because he refused to leave and did not have a permit. They were going to give him a summons but it looks like he did not want to show identification. I don’t have all the answer, but there are other sites with info In this incident . One of the sites mention that he was arrested for the same reason before.

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  • Tim

    Look what the cops do when there is actually a need to throw someone around. This guy is obviously putting innocent people at risk and what does this cop do? The real issue is that these cops are fucking pussies. If there are 8 cops on one little old man then their tough. If there is one cop and one psycho who needs to be restrained, then lets see what happens…—nsfw-/

  • Laurenstjude

     As described by Buhosd   — who, btw, Tim, did not ramble but instead laid out a fairly complete and coherent story — this incident set off conflicting responses in me. First, I was happy to learn that the cops did take seriously laws against playing amplified music in public without a permit and also that they at least attempted to handle the situation peacefully and with reason. That said, however, and despite the “fighting stance” the lawbreaker supposedly assumed,  I am inclined to think that once again police ultimately went for overkill. If the man would not turn off the music, than an arrest was likely in order, but judging from his build a cop or two could probably have restrained him and then applied handcuffs. 
    Incidentally, 60 is not “old,” at least not necessarily.