Police clash with crowd in Washington Square Park after curfew; 23 arrested

Manhattan

MANHATTAN — Nearly two dozen people were arrested during clashes with police in and around Washington Square Park Saturday night while the NYPD enforced a weekend curfew.

Video shared on Twitter showed a large police presence, with many officers in riot gear, as the 10 p.m. curfew went into effect.

Officers were seen using bicycles in a line to push people out of the park. At times, the crowd of people pushed back. 

Credit: @datainput via Storyful

In another interaction caught on video, a police officer shoved two people repeatedly as they exited the park. When they turned around, another officer shouted for police to place them in handcuffs, the video showed.

A separate video shared on social media showed police officers pinning a man to the ground while people were heard shouting “let him go,” “get a doctor for that man,” and “he needs medical attention now.” Later on, police were seen trying to lift the man onto a stretcher while he was still handcuffed.

Credit: @datainput via Storyful

A total of 23 people were arrested, according to the NYPD. Three people were issued summonses and 20 were given desk appearance tickets, police said.

Eight members of the NYPD suffered minor injuries during the incident, according to police. It was not clear how many civilians were injured.

The Parks Department and NYPD implemented a curfew inside the park after residents in the area complained about noise, partying and drug use.

“We continue to work with PD to find the right balance of education and enforcement against illegal and after hour activities that impact the park and the neighborhood,” a Parks Department spokeswoman said. “Enforced closures are focused on addressing large after hours gatherings, amplified sound, excessive trashing of the park and other conditions on weekends. PEP officers have also been working with NYPD to educate parkgoers about the park’s skateboarding and bicycling rules.”

Susan Lee, who’s running to represent the area in the City Council, said drug use has been a real issue in the neighborhood.

“There’s rampant drug dealing and drug use at the park and it’s really causing a public safety concern,” she told PIX11 News over Memorial Day weekend.

Lee had called for more community policing and services for people suffering from addiction.

According to the nonprofit Washington Square Park Conservancy, the curfew was put in place only for Memorial Day weekend and this weekend.

A Parks Department spokesperson said last week they would adjust their “approach as needed.”

PIX11’s requests for comment from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office was not returned on Sunday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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