Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 Evacuated Again by NYPD

Police brought in after brawl on Wednesday

May 13, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Young people drift up Joralemon Street, accompanied by police cars, following another evacuation of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 on May 11. Photo from video by Linda DeRosa, president of the Willowtown Association

Another evacuation of Brooklyn Bridge Park by police took place on Wednesday, May 11, after hundreds of young people gathered at Pier 2, the site of the park’s basketball courts and other exercise equipment, and a brawl reportedly broke out. 

Cops shut down the pier late Wednesday afternoon. According to an unverified report from a park-goer on social media, a fight had taken place involving “bats canes bottles knifes grips it was like world war park.”

Another witness wrote that people were “popping out with sticks & bats then sh*t happen.” 

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A similar fight broke out on May 9, residents said.

A police spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle that no arrests were made on Wednesday.

A video sent in by Linda DeRosa, president of the Willowtown Association, shows groups of young people drifting peacefully up Joralemon Street, accompanied by police cars.

Another dispersal took place during Spring Break week. Citing large crowds, violent incidents and death threats on social media, police closed down Pier 2 on April 27. One person was assaulted on Pier 2 on Monday, April 25 as well, according to an NYPD spokesperson. No arrests were made.


Park officials said following the earlier incidents that they are taking a series of steps to 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. 

“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,” DeRosa told the Eagle in April. 

Sonia Beker, a longtime Joralemon Street resident and a supporter of neighborhood safety groups, said it is “incumbent on the board of Brooklyn Bridge Park to acknowledge the safety issues the park has brought to the immediate neighborhood. Respect for the residents and the history of the neighborhood should be taken into account here.”

Beker suggested that Pier 2 “does not have to offer basketball, which attracts so many young people who congregate for a variety of reasons, not all above board. It can be a facility for other sports.” Brooklyn Bridge Park spokesperson Belinda Cape told the Eagle that the park is taking the issue very seriously. The park will be providing a statement on the situation in the near future (check back for updates).

Cape said in April that the park was coordinating with NYPD and the Park Enforcement Patrol (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. 

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. 

In addition, there will be “ongoing monitoring of social media,” Cape said.

UPDATE:

 The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) said in a statement that it met in April with Captain Sergio Centa of the 84th Precinct to advocate for more police resources dedicated to the park and adjacent streets. According to BHA, the 84th Precinct now has 16 additional police officers assigned to the park.

The organization has been in “daily contact with the 84th Precinct in recent weeks to monitor the situation and exchange information,” BHA says, adding that the NYPD is now prepared to close Pier 2 on short notice.

BHA says it will meet again with the 84th Precinct and park officials this week to discuss needed changes.

Community members are urged to attend the upcoming Tuesday, May 17th meeting of the 84th Precinct Community Council at 7 p.m. at 160 Schermerhorn Street.

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Updated May 14 with a statement from the Brooklyn Heights Association.


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