Dermot Shea condemns the mayhem in Washington Square Park as ‘abhorrent behavior’
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea condemned the mayhem and violence that have taken over Washington Square Park as “abhorrent” — just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that the undesirable behavior would resolve naturally.
Shea made his remarks on NY1 following a weekend of mayhem at the Greenwich Village landmark, which included two stabbings, a robbery, and an assault on a cook at a nearby diner.
Along the park’s iconic arch, anti-police rhetoric, including “Cops Kill,” was also scrawled, while cops have routinely been peppered with vulgar insults by the unruly crowds.
“You know, this is a little different for me than simply talking about the park,” Shea explained. “It’s also about normalizing, in my opinion, abhorrent behavior. And whether it occurs in a park or elsewhere, it will eventually have to be dealt with.”
However, Shea’s boss downplayed concerns about recent disturbances on Monday, stating only that there have been “some specific issues” at the park.
“We had some unique issues in Washington Square Park for a brief period of time, and there has been an effort to determine the best approach,” de Blasio said during a Monday news briefing at City Hall.
“We’ve had a few nights where everything went swimmingly,” he added. “There were a few nights when they didn’t, but I believe this is going to result in a natural outcome here.”
The mayor’s remarks infuriated some residents, who have complained for months about massive parties laced with drug use and violence at the historic park.
Caroline C., 37, a neighbor, told The Post that “not everyone has the luxury of living in Gracie Mansion” and that she does not “foresee the park’s nightly mayhem going away naturally.”
“There is no regard for people who pay money to live in a neighborhood that has historically felt like home,” said Lindsey Clapp, 40, a local resident. “It’s as if I’m the stranger now, and after two years of COVID, I expected more from my fellow New Yorkers.”
The park’s violence and disorder prompted city officials to impose a weekend curfew of 10 p.m. two weeks ago. This weekend, the regular midnight closing time was reinstated.
“Historically, that park has closed at midnight,” Shea said on Tuesday. “A decision was made to temporarily increase it to ten. We’re going to be there to ensure that whatever the Parks Department is doing to close the park is done safely.”
The 6th Precinct is hosting a “Build the Block” meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. to discuss Washington Square Park. It will be held at the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii, 25 Carmine St.
“We listen to the residents who use the park on a daily basis,” the top cop stated. “This is not unusual, but we felt it was the ideal time for this community. Let’s gather all community members, offer the police officers who patrol that area, and listen to their concerns. We’ll proceed from there.”