Cops shut down Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 following violence, threats
Park says it will take remedial action; Extra cops, Park Enforcement Patrols expected
Citing large crowds, violent incidents and death threats on Facebook, police closed down Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 on Wednesday afternoon, leaving hundreds of teens and youngsters milling about the park or headed for other playgrounds.
Park officials say they are taking a series of steps to quickly remedy the situation, including monitoring Pier 2 for capacity by additional staff members, and controlling access points to the pier. Additional patrols by the 84th Precinct and the Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) are also expected.
Pier 2 is the site of five acres of basketball, handball and other courts, plus fitness equipment, a roller rink and more.
Starting at roughly 3 p.m. on Wednesday, police cars were stationed at both entrances to the pier, and cops were turning away visitors. Police cars were also situated on the park’s walkway between Pier 2 and spots further south, and near the Old Fulton Street entrance. Officers patrolled the length of the park.
Following a call to 911, police dispersed a large crowd of teens who had converged on the park Monday evening, according to an NYPD spokesperson. One person was assaulted on Monday, the spokesperson said, but no arrests were made.
Cops walking through the park on Wednesday told the Brooklyn Eagle that Pier 2 and another area were closed “because there were a lot of fights here for the last couple of days.”
A member of the PEP said that Pier 2 would be shut intermittently due to “bad stuff happening.”
Teens walking along the waterfront said a large crowd had gathered on Monday afternoon, but they weren’t sure what happened after that. “We don’t know where we’re going to go now,” one young woman said.
One dad shepherding five young children through the park said he was very disappointed to hear that Pier 2 was closed.
“Oh man,” he said. “They messed this up.”
Linda DeRosa, president of the Willowtown Association, told the Eagle that a large crowd ran up Joralemon Street following the evacuation of Pier 2 by police on Monday.
“In less than a year there has been a park shooting and police chase, the deli on Joralemon robbed and vandalized, Rabbi Raskin attacked and now … another police evacuation with hundreds of kids running up Joralemon Street,” she said.
DeRosa added, “Pier 2 is becoming a hangout and that’s why Brooklyn Bridge Park needs to step in. These kids are not there to play basketball.”
In a letter on Wednesday to members of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Advisory Council (CAC), park spokesperson Belinda Cape said that NYPD had alerted the park that high school students were using social media to meet at Pier 2, resulting in very large numbers gathering there over the last two weeks.
“Several small fights have occurred and we have had to close Pier 2 on several occasions,” she wrote. “Today, due to activity on Facebook and an expected influx of people, we closed Pier 2 at 2 p.m. The [Police Department] was stationed throughout the park, and the situation kept under control.”
Cape said that the park was coordinating with NYPD and the PEP to “mitigate the situations we are now seeing.”
In the future, Cape wrote, Pier 2 would be “monitored for capacity” by additional staff members and access points would be controlled by staff.
In addition, NYPD’s 84th Precinct is expecting 16 additional officers to be assigned to the Brooklyn Bridge Park detail for the summer, she said, bringing the total number of officers assigned to the park to 25. Patrols will be focused on Pier 2, Pier 5 and the Joralemon Street corridor. A Police Department sergeant will be dedicated to park patrols.
The NYPD supervisor on duty will be responsible for making decisions about closing Pier 2 in collaboration with BBP and PEP, Cape said, and a focused effort will be made to place other Police Department officers throughout the park and neighborhood in advance of closing the area.
In addition, there will be “ongoing monitoring of social media,” Cape wrote.
Willowtown’s DeRosa is relieved that the park is addressing the problem.
“It’s like a 12 step program,” she told the Eagle. “The first step is admitting you have a problem and they’ve done that. Finally.”
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