Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Tuesday slammed the mayhem and violence overrunning Washington Square Park as “abhorrent behavior” that shouldn’t be acceptable anywhere — and is “going to have to be dealt with.”
Anti-police rhetoric, including “Cops Kill,” was also scrawled along the park’s iconic arch.
“You know, I view this as a little different from just about the park,” Shea said. “It’s [also] about …in my view, normalizing, you know, abhorrent behavior. And whether it’s in a park or anywhere else, ultimately it’s going to have to be dealt with.
The violence and disorder at the park prompted city officials to impose a 10 p.m. weekend curfew two weeks ago. The regular midnight closing time was reinstated this weekend.
“The closing time of that park historically has been midnight,” Shea said. “There was a decision made to move it up to 10 for a short period of time. We’re going to be there to make sure that, you know, whatever the Parks Department is there to do in terms of closing the park, that it can be done safely.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio this week downplayed concerns about the recent disturbances at the famed Greenwich Village park.
“We’ve had some particular issues for a limited period of time in Washington Square Park, and there’s been an effort to figure out the right approach,” de Blasio said during a Monday news briefing at City Hall.
“We’ve had a number of nights where things went pretty smoothly,” he added. “We had a few nights where they didn’t, but it’s going to, I think, lead to a natural outcome here.”
But one neighbor, Caroline C., 37, told the Post that “not everyone has the luxury of living in Gracie Mansion,” and that she doesn’t “foresee the nightly mayhem in the park going away naturally.”
“There is no respect for people that pay money to live in a neighborhood that typically felt like home,” said local resident Lindsey Clapp, 40. “Now it feels like I’m the stranger, and after two years of COVID, I expected more out of my fellow New Yorkers.”
The 6th Precinct is inviting local residents to a “Build the Block” meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss Washington Square Park. It will be held at Our Lady of Pompeii Church at 25 Carmine Street.
“We listen to the people that live in the community, that use the park every day,” the top cop said. “This is not that out of the ordinary, but we thought it was the perfect time for this community. Let’s get all the community members together, offer up the police officers that work in that area and let’s hear what the concerns are and we’ll go from there.”