Category Archives: Parks Department

Battery Park City Authority PEP’s, YOUR FIRED !

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The Battery Park City Authority is taking PEPs off their beat.

MDC issues a congratulations to Adam , who initiated the ineptness and harassment the community was undergoing on a daily basis. The BPCA is another story that needs the same ending.

The Authority’s board voted Tuesday to hire a private security firm to replace what would appear to be most of the city’s Parks Enforcement Patrol’s green-uniformed officers, contracted through the city’s Parks Department, to patrol the neighborhood’s 38 acres of parks. Forty-five PEPs of various ranks are currently assigned to Battery Park City, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.

The Parks Department and the authority are in “discussions” over the number of PEPs who will remain, the spokeswoman said.

The newly hired company, Allied Barton Security Services, is a nationwide firm with 120 offices and more than 60,000 employees, according to its website. Allied Barton’s security officers, in bright yellow and blue uniforms, will begin patrolling the parks on bike and foot in mid-November, said Caress Kennedy, a vice president of the firm.

The board voted to spend $2.1 million annually on the new services, which is $400,000 less than the authority now pays the city’s Parks Department for its officers, according to a person with knowledge of the PEP contract. But Benjamin Jones, an authority vice president, said the agency will get more for its money and the total paid for both private security and the remaining PEPs will be no more than the authority was paying for the full staff of PEP officers.

“We’re looking at a contract now under the $2.1 million that would still give us services that could be up to 30 percent more in terms of boots on the ground and visibility to the public,” Jones said, noting that the coverage will “go beyond just the green spaces in Battery Park City.”

Bryant Park is the only other city park that is largely staffed by private security. Unlike Battery Park City’s parks, it closes at night.

An authority spokeswoman did not respond when asked in an email why the agency is making the change. In the past, residents have complained about an absence of PEP officers on patrol as well as officers who congregate and seem inattentive. But Anthony Notaro, chair of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee, said his view of their performance lately is a good one, though he has “more questions than answers” about the wisdom of the move.

“The relationship has been up and down but I would say on balance it’s been positive,” said Notaro, who was not aware of the decision until contacted by the Trib.

MDC adds, Mr. Notaro is full of shit and a complete unaware jerk . He makes blanket generalizations when he is completely out of touch. Anthony, you are one tired old hag.

Source:  See more at: http://www.tribecatrib.com/content/private-security-firm-hired-replace-most-battery-park-city-pep-officers#sthash.JY6WzlBz.dpuf

Continued Corruption at Battery Park City Authority

MDC suggests a class action suit be delivered against the Battery Park City Authority for the abundant amount of years of political corruption.

The Comptroller’s December, 2013 report, “Selected Aspects of Discretionary Spending: The Battery Park City Authority,” concluded that the BPCA “lacked written policies and procedures clarifying what constituted appropriate discretionary spending and specifying permissible dollar thresholds, necessary justifications, and required formal approvals and supporting documentation.” The Comptroller’s office added, “we questioned the appropriateness of most of the Authority discretionary spending that we sampled during the audit.”

The audit sampled 69 discretionary expenditures totaling $112,132 and raised questions about 53 of them, totaling $100,700, “because these transactions did not appear necessary, were not clearly related to the purpose of the Authority, were not properly approved and/or were not adequately supported with documentation.” The Comptroller’s audit also raised red flags about $61,000 in charitable contributions to various not-for-profit organizations.”

This audit covered much of the same territory as a similar probe by the New York State Inspector General (IG), which concluded in 2010. The Comptroller’s audit, however, found that some of the practices criticized in the IG’s investigation continued for at least a year after that probe was concluded.

While the IG’s investigation focused largely on charitable donations to groups located, in some cases, hundreds of miles away from Battery Park City, the Comptroller’s audit found that by 2011, the BPCA had scaled back charitable contributions by 50 percent from the previous year, and that most BPCA charitable contributions were directed to Lower Manhattan organizations and events, such as Manhattan Youth, the Tribeca Film Festival, New York Downtown Hospital, the PTAs of local public schools, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

The retrenchment of Authority financial support for groups such as these in recent years has proved controversial among Lower Manhattan residents and community leaders, among whom there is a widely-shared perception that such contributions enhance the quality of downtown.

In a March 5 written response to the Comptroller’s audit, BPCA chairman Dennis Mehiel said, “since my arrival in June 2012, the Authority has significantly reduced its discretionary spending at my direction. Ten contributions were made in the fiscal year ended October 31, 2013, which represents an approximate 80 percent reduction from the fifty-four contributions made in fiscal year 2010.”

In response to one of the Comptroller’s key recommendations, that the BPCA, “establish a formal framework to govern contributions to outside entities and discontinue such spending unless it can be clearly established how such spending aligns with the Authority’s mission, purpose, duties and authority,” Mr. Mehiel wrote that, “the Authority’s management and its Board are currently in the process of modifying the Authority’s Discretionary Spending Policy and creating a formal framework to govern all contributions to outside entities, including evaluation criteria. Once the spending policy is modified and approved by the Board, any contributions to outside entities will be submitted to the Board in a detailed budget line-item format listing the proposed contributions along with the annual budget for approval, preceded by management’s thorough reviews as mentioned above.”

Source: broadsheet/ Matthew Fenton
top photo by Robert Simko

GOING TOPLESS

 

MDC says, Rihanna enjoys going topless in above photo.

As you probably know, it’s completely okay (as in, legal) for women to walk around topless in New York (and in a lot of other places, too). If you didn’t know, however, topless activist Moira Johnston is going out of her way to spread the good word about women being able to bare their chests everywhere men can bare theirs.

MDC shares a past youtube clip from occupy wall street regarding another  topless activist.

 

http://youtu.be/2wImCFWxi_s

Film those Officers

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MDC has been an advocate along with many freelance journalists high listing the need of cameras to provide proof -documentation.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that smartphones have ushered in a new era of police accountability. Since mid-July, when a bystander on Staten Island filmed the death of Eric Garner in a prohibited police chokehold, at least eight other unsettling videos, most of them captured by smartphone, have emerged showing instances of apparent excessive force by NYPD officers. Four such videos have appeared this month alone.

Although police might intimidate bystanders into thinking otherwise, it’s perfectly legal to film the cops — not only in New York, but everywhere in the U.S. — as long as you don’t get in their way. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, encourages people to keep using their phones to film troubling police incidents. The more people who post these videos online, she said, the more likely it is that other people will reach for their own phones when they see cops doing something questionable.

“When police wrongdoing is captured on videotape, it makes the public understand what has happened and why we need to hold the police accountable, and that we need changes in the way police do business,” Lieberman told The Huffington Post.

“Nobody would have believed what happened to Rodney King if it hadn’t been caught on videotape,” she added, referring to the man who was brutally beaten by Los Angeles cops in 1991, leading to months of protests. “The same is true for Eric Garner.”

Lieberman also argued that the modern-day proliferation of video is actually good news for police officers.

“It’s ready-made training material, and sometimes it’s a ready-made defense against wrongful accusation,” she said. “It should protect good cops and hold accountable those cops who fundamentally disrespect the rights and laws they’re supposed to protect.”

On July 17, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner, a father of six and grandfather of two, in a chokehold during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk. Bystander Ramsey Orta filmed the arrest. The video shows Garner, who had asthma, repeatedly screaming “I can’t breathe!” before his body goes limp.

“Twenty years ago, Ernest Sayon, right in that same district, died,” the Rev. Al Sharpton later said at Garner’s funeral, referring to another Staten Island man who died at the hands of the NYPD in 1994. “We marched then. But there’s a difference this time. This time, there was a video!”

That video, and the others that have emerged since, have raised serious questions about what’s going on at the NYPD .

Why are officers still using chokeholds to apprehend suspects, even though the maneuver is prohibited by the NYPD patrol guide?

On July 14, Ronald Johns, 22, allegedly entered a New York subway station without paying a fare. When he resisted arrest, cops pepper-sprayed him and put him in a chokehold.

Chokeholds are dangerous and often deadly, yet from 2009 to 2013, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board received more than 1,000 complaints about them. Below is a video, also from July, that shows an officer appearing to put Rosan Miller in a chokehold during an arrest for illegally grilling outside her home in East New York, Brooklyn. Miller, 27, was seven months pregnant at the time.

Which leads to another question: How are officers trained to deal with pregnant women, anyway?

This video is from mid-September, when Amezquita tried to intervene in the arrest of her son outside a restaurant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She alleges that officers also beat her belly with a baton.

The NYPD didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post about how officers are told to treat pregnant women. A copy of the department’s patrol guide says that “when possible,” electric devices like a Taser “should not be used on children, the elderly, obviously pregnant females, the frail, [or] against subjects operating or riding on any moving device or vehicle.” The guide also tells officers, “If possible, avoid using pepper spray on persons who appear to be in frail health, young children, women believed to be pregnant, or persons with known respiratory conditions.”

Also in September, and also in Sunset Park, police officers threw fruit vendor Jonathan Daza, 22, to the ground after reportedly telling him to pack up his table and clear the area. Once Daza was on the ground, Officer Vincent Ciardiello kicked him in the back, apparently without provocation. Ciardiello was later suspended.

Have you recorded evidence of police in your community behaving badly? We want to hear about it. Send photos, videos or stories to copwatch@huffingtonpost.com.

Source: Huffington post

Citizen CopWatch

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Police, you’re being policed.

MDC says, every citizen is a recruited video informer protected under the United States Constituition, the same the cops/officers/parks department PEP all sworn on.

City watchdog groups are recruiting intrepid citizens in all five boroughs — and arming some of them with handheld video cameras — to catch rogue cops in action.

“The reality is that the police violate the law,” said Daniel Sanchez, a 33-year-old member of the Justice Committee, one of the groups of activists aimed at stopping police violence.

“But when we are there with our cameras, the cops often change their behavior,” he said.

Dozens of would-be shutterbugs packed a meeting in the Bronx on Tuesday to learn the nuts and bolts of documenting potential abuses.

The workshop in Morrisania was the first in a series planned for every borough.

“Do not engage the officers unless they engage you,” said Yul-san Liem, a Justice Committee trainer, who advised cop watchers to keep their distance and remain calm. “The point is not to antagonize police.”

Momentum for filming NYPD interactions with the public spiked after video played a significant role in shaping reaction to the death of Eric Garner of Staten Island, who died in July after a cop placed him in a chokehold.

“A picture may be worth a thousand words, but if it happened on video, it’s priceless,” said New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman.

“If a person had only described what had happened to Eric Garner, it wouldn’t have had nearly the impact that it did,” she added.

An NYPD officer was also caught on a disturbing video in September tackling a clearly pregnant woman in Brooklyn.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how a fleet of videographers would affect their ability to police the streets.

An NYPD officer is seen on newly released cellphone video apparently knocking out a Brooklyn teen who had been stopped on suspicion of smoking pot, sources told The Post.

Police say that the Internal Affairs Bureau is probing the incident, in which the officer allegedly pummels Marcel Hamer, 17, on June 4th in Clinton Hill as the teenager pleads with the officer, telling him that he was only smoking a cigarette.

“Mister, it was just a cigarette, sir,” Hamer can be heard saying on the video.
“It was just a cigarette.”

As the officer notices a person videotaping the incident, he taunts the indivual, “Yeah, get it on film.”

Although the alleged knockout blow is not seen, the teen appears to be unconscious at the end of the footage.

“You knocked him out!” one of Hamer’s friends could be heard saying.
The teen’s family said he now suffers neurological problems, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

Hamer was charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the incident.

MDC always says on twitter under the hashtag #videoGOTya #civilrights !!

Source: ny dailynews

Constitutional Victory to Educate Cops

MDC highlights another constitutional victory.

Police overseeing security at protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in August violated the constitutional rights of demonstrators and journalists by forcing them to stay in constant motion and not stop walking, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry held that the “practice of requiring peaceful demonstrators and others to walk, rather than stand still, violates the Constitution.” She issued a preliminary injunction banning St. Louis County Police and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers from using the tactic.

“The evidence from plaintiff’s witnesses shows that the police, including those from St. Louis County, told many people who were either peacefully assembling or simply standing on their own that they would be arrested if they did not keep moving,” wrote Perry, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. “Some law enforcement officers told people that they could stand still for no more than five seconds. Others gave instructions that people were walking too slowly, or that they could not walk back and forth in a small area. Some law enforcement officers did not make people keep moving, others did. Some officers applied the strategy to reporters, others did not. Many officers told people who were standing in small groups on the sidewalks during the daytime hours that they would be arrested if they did not keep moving.”

The “keep walking” or “five-second” rule was implemented in Ferguson on Aug. 18. Police officers would not allow anyone to congregate, even on public sidewalks, even in broad daylight.

MDC has obtained video in the past of a resident residing in Battery Park City that was maliciously beaten with his dog in another twister of the man recording the Parks Department breaking the law and demanding that he keeps moving while recording or BE Arrested by Captain Edwin Falcone who was blocking an NYPD tow vehicle because one of his officers parked on top of a fire hydrant utilizing park credentials to violate the parking law.

Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson defended the practice at the time, saying the police were “not violating your rights. We’re allowing you to protest.”

The federal judge disagreed.

Scam at Battery Park City Authority

Nice work if you can get it!

MDC has reported on the fraudulent run Battery Park City Authority in the past and supports the diligent reporting by BatteryPark.tv.

Honchos and even freshly recruited executives at Battery Park City Authority got double-digit raises — as high as 29 percent — this year.
Robert Nesmith, who was hired in just 2013 and is the public authority’s chief contracting officer, saw his pay bumped 26 percent from $95,000 to $120,000.

Assistant treasurer Luis Garcia’s pay surged 29 percent from $116,290 to $150,000 ; Controller Karl Koenig got a 25 percent hike from $120,000 to $150,000; and John Tam, the director of information technology, saw his salary go up 20 percent from $100,000 to $120,000.

Some lower-level employees also saw their paychecks fatten, one by 60 percent.

Of 32 workers who received raises this year, the average increase was 14 percent, according to data obtained by The Post under a Freedom of Information request.

“These salary increases were well deserved and were the result of either promotions, or reflected increased responsibilities as a result of the Battery Park City Authority’s recent reorganization,” said Shari Hyman, the BPCA’s $225,000-a-year president and COO. Hyman claimed the authority’s current operating budget dropped to the lowest it has been in over a decade.
The authority oversees 92 acres of state-owned land in lower Manhattan and the businesses, parks and some 8,600 residential units there.

MDC says, the staff combined with the whole authority needs to be dismantled .

Source: ny post

CHOKEHOLD Problem in NYC

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The NYPD has a chokehold problem, the Civilian Complaint Review Board claims in a shot-across-the-bow report ordered by the agency’s new president, civil-rights attorney Richard Emery.

The 120-page report, prepared in response to the July death of arrestee Eric Garner on Staten Island and obtained exclusively by The Post, amps up the board’s Mayor de Blasio-sanctioned transformation into an agency that will aggressively investigate cops.

Pitched as a “Vision Zero action plan,” a reference to the mayor’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic injuries and deaths, the report blasts the leaders of New York’s Finest for failing to discipline cops in all but the worst cases.

The report, to be released this week, also chastises the department for softening the definition of a chokehold in order to let bad cops off the hook. But for all its alarm over how “chokeholds persist and appear to be increasing,” the report’s own statistics tell a different story.

While complaints are on the rise slightly, the board has substantiated only 10 chokehold cases out of 1,128 allegations brought to the agency in the past 5¹/₂ years.

MDC mentions that a close associate was maliciously brutalized and choked by the NYC Parks Department, also suffering collapsed lung and struggling to breathe . MDC has also been notified in the past, that the above associate has submitted over 2 dozen complaints to the CCRB.

“From 2009 through June 2014,” the report reads, “the CCRB substantiated a total of 10 chokehold allegations: three in 2009; two in 2010; one in 2011; one in 2012; two in 2013; and one from January through June 2014.”
In other words, the board’s own investigations were able to prove, on average, less than 2 percent of chokehold complaints — something the report blames on inconclusive evidence and its own previously lax investigators.

The report urges better training for all cops, better tracking and disciplining of “problem” cops, and a requirement that NYPD disciplinary judges stick to the Patrol Guide definition of a chokehold as any pressure to the neck regardless of whether breathing is obstructed.

Among the report’s findings:
“Half the officers in chokehold complaints had a history of six or more CCRB complaints, with 25 percent of officers having a history of 10 or more complaints,” the report states.

The CCRB hopes to partner with NYPD in enacting tighter policies, including an “early warning system” and “new training protocols,” in line with Emery’s recent proposal for a “Cop-Stat” abuse-tracking system.

Three precincts had no chokehold complaints since 2009: Central Park, the 66th in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, and the recently created 121st Precinct in Staten Island.

East New York, Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct logged the most chokehold complaints in that period — 65 — followed by the 73rd Precinct in Ocean Hill and Brownsville, Brooklyn, which logged 52.

Newer cops are more likely to be accused of chokeholds.

The report also criticizes judges in the NYPD’s internal disciplinary judges for being soft on chokehold cases. Of the 10 CCRB-substantiated chokehold cases since 2009, the worst discipline meted out so far was a single instance of the loss of 10 days vacation in the case of a cop who squeezed a complainant’s neck with both hands.

The report additionally slams previous CCRB investigators for under-categorizing 156 chokehold allegations as mere “use of physical force, and argues strongly for consensus on a strict definition of a chokehold as any application of force to the neck, as stated in the NYPD Patrol Guide, regardless of whether breathing is impeded.

For 20 years, the NYPD Patrol Guide has prohibited police from applying any pressure to the neck that “may” inhibit breathing, the report notes. That definition has “mutated” in the eyes of both the NYPD and some previous CCRB investigators to include only those instances where breathing was actually interfered with, the report complains.

“What this report reveals is that this prohibition, as crystal clear as it is, has been degraded over the course of the last decade,” the report says.
PBA President Patrick Lynch was not impressed when shown a copy of the report Saturday. MDC says, LYNCH can’t handle the truth, that’s why citizens havepictures & videos to eliminate the officer hearsay.

Source: by Laura Italiano and Amber Jamieson

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Settlement for a Beatdown

MDC shares a west coast police brutality case that is similar to a beat down by the NYC Parks Department. A woman punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer in an incident caught on video will receive $1.5 million under a newly reached settlement, and the officer has agreed to resign.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow confirmed the settlement in an emailed statement Wednesday night and an attorney for Marlene Pinnock confirmed the terms for The Associated Press.

The settlement came after nine hours of mediation in Los Angeles.

Marlene Pinnock, 51, will be getting $1.5 million in settlement with California Highway Patrol.

Pinnock’s attorney Caree Harper says they wanted to make sure the 51-year-old Pinnock could have financial stability for the rest of her life and wanted to make sure that Officer Daniel Andrew would not be an officer any longer.

The July 1 video of Andrew punching Pinnock by the side of a freeway was captured by a passing driver and spread widely on the internet and television.

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