Three 88th Precinct cops nab one wine drinker in Fort Greene Park
The cops prepared to leave, but told the group members they could finish drinking the wine
The cops had them surrounded.
I was enjoying a gorgeous day in Fort Greene Park on Saturday afternoon when I encountered a shocking crime scene — four people were quietly sitting on a blanket, sipping an unidentified beverage out of red Solo cups.
Just in time, an NYPD squad car swooped in and justice was swift. Well, not so swift.
Over the course of 20 minutes, the following scene played out: Three cops surrounded the blanket — a standard-issue picnic variety — and demanded identification cards from the party of four, none of whom was creating any disturbance.
The liquid in the cups was confirmed to be wine — closer inspection revealed that it was white — and two cops prevented the alleged perps from fleeing while one ran the IDs.
Only one member of the group, an Australian man, received a ticket — apparently because he had given the cops a New York City ID rather than his foreign driver’s license like the other three group members. Writing the $25 summons isn’t worth the bother, the cop allegedly told him, if perps present foreign documents.
The cops prepared to leave, but told the group members they could finish drinking the wine, which the group found confusing.
“If it’s illegal,” one asked me, “why are we allowed to keep doing it?”
I couldn’t fathom a response.
I posted the incident on Twitter, and many readers found the implication of the photographs disturbing: is it really police practice to bust people quietly drinking wine out of cups in a park?
If so, Fort Greene Park is apparently not alone as a dry county.
“On my run in ‘car free’ Prospect Park today, I saw no fewer than five NYPD cruisers with their lights on circling or staked out around the loop,” ProPublica’s Al Shaw tweeted to me. “Nothing says urban oasis like flashing red and blue every 200 meters.”
Neither the 88th Precinct nor the NYPD public information office has responded to requests for comment on whether enforcement of alcohol-related summonses has stepped up this summer.
David Klion is a Prospect-Lefferts Gardens-based writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Guardian, and other publications. He tweets @DavidKlion.
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