RIOC Public Safety Stories from the Roosevelt Island Community
This issue has stirred a strong response from the Roosevelt Island community prompting a demonstration, testimony, and submissions on our website at Share Your RIOC Public Safety Stories.
Much of the testimony is courtesy of Roosevelt Island Citizens Blotter and the Roosevelt Islander with its features on Allegations Of Handcuffed Person Beaten At M&D Deli And RIOC Attorney Trying To Intimidate Store Owner From Showing Video To Public- More From The February 16 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Demonstration and Roosevelt Island Protest Demonstration Against RIOC Public Safety Department Brutality.
Special thanks to the Roosevelt Islander, the foremost blog for up to the minute news on Roosevelt Island.
Jared Francis's Story - Video Part 1
Jared Francis's Story - Video Part 2
Jared Francis's Story - Video Part 3
INCIDENT: DECEMBER 9, 2012 - DELI (VIDEO AVAILABLE) -JARED FRANCIS
Jared Francis was standing in front of the Deli on 12/9/2012, talking to his friends. They were there for about 10 minutes when PSD pulled up in front of the store. Jared went into the store, the other guys walked up the street. Jared walked into the back aisle to get something to drink on his way to the counter PSD rushed him. Jared was locked up for 2 days waiting to see the judge. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
May 30, 2009 - About My Arrest
by Adib Mansour
Again on May 30, the Roosevelt Island Little League game ended before the completion of the bottom of the last inning because of RIOC’s field rental policy (which does not take intoconsideration games that go to overt-time) and the fact that the field, as in previous weeks, was not ready on time. The day ended with dozens of children out side the Public Safety office, some crying hysterically, mostly all afraid, confused and angry.
The game was to start at 9:00 a.m. but could not start until closer to 9:30 because there were no bases placed on the field and the coach had to get his own. The game had to be cut short to (five innings instead of six) because our allocated time ended. The teams were disappointed but accepted the decision.
Once the first game ended, I sat with my son during the first three innings of the second game, but left to prepare a picnic for my family and some friends. As I was leaving for the picnic, Karine Wong, whose son was playing in the second game, called to informe me that the game was cut short before the end of the last inning by Public Safety. They were brought in by offisland teams after a confrontation with a Roosevelt Island parent. The Little League’s permit from RIOC ended at 1:00 and it was now 1:45 p.m. I went out to the field with my camera to document the incident.
I found both Purple and Green teams sitting outside the field, being told by their coaches why they had to stop the game. The scene was very emotional. On the other side of the field, I approached parents arguing with both RI Public Safety and the visiting players. The islanders included Carolyn Christianson, Christina Ewing, and Dan Fitzgerald, to name a few. Shortly after, the visitors took the field and started batting practice.
In what I heard as a sarcastic tone, one of the off-island players asked the kids and parents to leave the field “before you get seriously hurt.” I was in the process of leaving the field with the rest of the remaining crowd, taking occasional pictures, when I spotted the two Public Safety officers approaching.
Upon their arrival, I stopped to take a picture of the officer dismounting his bike –officer Wilson Toro- who walked towards the crowd and, directing his words to me, he said, “leave the field”. He then came closer to me and, louder, said, “I told you to leave the field,” to which I responded, “Not before I take this last picture of the kids being forced out of the field in this manner” –perhaps I should have phrased it better to avoid any misunderstanding of my peaceful intentions- and proceeded in taking his picture as well as the Roosevelt Island parents and children in the immediate background. Officer Toro then pushed me, in my ribs, saying, “I give you 10 seconds to leave.” I turned, in pain, and said, “Don’t touch me.” He responded, “You don’t want me to touch you? I’ll show you what that means.” He dangled his handcuffs in front of my face. He twisted my arms to the back and locked the andcuffs very tight on my wrists. I handed my digital camera to Peter Alber (Green team coach) and asked him to continue documenting the events. Meanwhile, Officer Toro was saying: “I’ll teach you a lesson.”
At this point, he pushed me in front of him, scattering the crowd. Some responded to this by saying, “That is not necessary, sir,” and “You’re doing this in front of the kids?” A couple of residents stood in front of the arresting officer and asked him to release me at once. He lifted his hand in a threatening way pointing to one parent’s face and asked her to move out of his way. She responded, “If you’re going to arrest him, you should arrest all of us.” The argument went on for a good minute or two when Mr. Toro pushed me in front of him and over the ledge onto roadway beside Eastwood. Another other officer stayed behind, calmly talking to the rowd. On Main Street, another parent –who seemed to know the officer- approached Mr. Toro and begged him to release me. Mr. Toro responded, “He disrespected me.” I turned to him and said, “I never raised my voice, never used bad language, never acted in any disrespectful way.” At his point, parents and children were witnessing the events. The situation was getting more tense. One parent was yelling, “Are you kidding me? You’ve arrested him? Are you kidding me?” Officer Toro called on his radio and asked for backup. Two officers arrived, dress in street clothes. Officer Toro said to one of them, “Arrest the guy who’s taking pictures. Arrest him now.” But that arrest never happened.
Once we arrived at the Public Safety offices, the crowd grew in number (over 40) and in frustration. Children followed us through the doors. I was taken into the back room and was told to sit down because I was about to “learn a lesson.” I said that I preferred to stand. He went for papers. I took my phone out of my pocket with my right hand and called my wife, who was in lower Manhattan having a business lunch with the vice principal of my son’s school. I told her that I was being arrested and that our son, who is 10 years old, was left crying and scared outside. (To my knowledge, Public Safety made no attempt to account for my minor child’s whereabouts as they took me away.) I was able to ascertain that a friend had taken responsibility for him, but he was hysterical and scared. Other residents also called my wife who was now in a taxi. By phone, she tried to calm my son.
A little later, I told Mr. Toro, “I need you to know that I am diabetic and that my glucose is going down and that I was feeling dizzy”. I asked him if he could please get me something to eat or drink. (It was much past my lunch time and since I had taken insulin in the morning. It was crucial for me to eat on time.) Mr. Toro stood right in front of me, face to face, and whispered, “You should have thought about that before.” I told him that if I didn’t have something sweet to eat or juice, I could pass out.” He replied: “I am diabetic too”, then said “I’ll wait until you to pass out so I can take you to the emergency room, then take you to prison.” I was shocked at this threat and went silent. He walked away from me and sat at a desk diagonal to me, gathering paper work. At this point, I started seeing white flares, a sign that my glucose is dangerously low.
I said, “Excuse me.... I am diabetic and require immediate attention because my glucose is getting dangerously low. May I please get some juice. I have money in my pocket and will pay for it.” To this, Officer Toro repeated that he would wait until I fainted, then would call the ambulance, then take me to the emergency room and then to prison – so I could learn my lesson.” Within hearing range of a couple of other officers who rolled their eyes and slightly shook their heads. Another officer, who had been on the field at the time of the arrest, said in a very calm voice, “I will get it for you. Is Pepsi good enough?” I said it was. He offered to pay for it himself. At this point, I called Dick Lutz of The WIRE and told him what had been happening. When Officer Toro heard what I was saying, he ran to me and demanded my phone. I told him that I needed it to call my lawyer and my doctor. He twisted my hand and caused me considerable pain. I screamed towards my phone, “Dick, I am being physically assaulted, I am being hurt.” The officer then twisted my arm so much I had to release the phone. He ended the call.
The phone rang right after, so I asked Mr. Toro to “please hand me the phone; this must either be my wife or my lawyer.” Officer Toro shut off the phone and said, “Let them reach you now.” He put the phone on the table out of reach. He then stood in front of me and asked me to empty my pockets. I told him that I wouldn’t, and could not anyway as I was handcuffed to the wooden bar against the wall. He frisked me and emptied my pockets. It was only at that point that he read me my Miranda Rights. (He omitted the part about the right to a phone call and an attorney.) He said that I was arrested for “Disorderly Conduct” and asked me if I understood what he said. I told him I did not because I was never disorderly. He said, “I don’t need you to understand, I have a witness.” He turned to one of the officers in plain clothing then asked him to be his witness. Soon after, the Chief Guerra came into the room and left with Mr. Toro.
I heard a friend (Virginia Chambers) yell out loud in the entrance, “He is diabetic. Do you know he is diabetic and requires attention?” Following her request the same calm officer brought me a large bottle of Pepsi. I started drinking fast as I realized it was a little bit too late. I was weakening at the knees and couldn’t hold the bottle any longer. I collapsed on the bench behind me and the bottle dropped to the floor.
One of the officers in the room asked me if I was OK. I asked him to bring me the soda back as I was getting much weaker. I drank soda fast and sat on the bench looking down at the floor, with my heart beating fast. It took 5-10 minutes before I started feeling better.
Suddenly, the door at the back of the room opened and Carolyn Christianson was standing with about 20 children. They started chanting, “Free our coach, free our coach.” Public Safety personnel closed the door and asked the kids to leave. On the other side of the building at the front entrance, I also heard people arguing. One of the Public Safety people in the room with me, speaking on the telephone with her mom, said, “There’s a riot outside.” After a while, Public Safety Chief Keith Guerra came into the room and told me that someone would bring me paperwork to sign, and then I could leave.
Soon after, Officer Toro and a civilian-clothed officer walked toward me. Mr. Toro said that I have to sign a Summons with a July 21 court date. I asked about the charges. He replied that the charge was disorderly behavior. I replied: “For the record, I want to say that in no way did I conduct myself in a disorderly manner.” They said nothing in response and I was again asked to sign the paper. I did. I was then uncuffed and Mr. Toro started collecting my personal belongings that were scattered in different places in the room. I told him my headset was incomplete. He said, “That’s how it was.” I answered that it was not missing when I had it in my possession. They looked for it for a few minutes and found it on the floor.
I wondered why there was no procedure, such as placing all my items in one place? Why was I chained to the wall for a long time before my rights were read to me? Why was I not allowed to call my lawyer? Why was I not allowed to call my wife and let her know that our son was left alone with no supervision? Why was I arrested in the first place, and only me, while exiting the field and stopping for a few seconds to take the last picture? I had arrived at the end of the events, quietly taking pictures, with no connection to the disturbance Public Safety was called for.
Upon my release I went to the front desk and told them that I would not leave without placing a complaint against Officer Toro. I was told that I would have to return on Monday (June 2). I insisted on getting the paper work before leaving. It was handed to me.
Outside Public Safety, more than a dozen children were waiting for me with hugs and high-fives. My son cried quietly, giving me a long hug. He later told me that the arrest and how the events unfolded on the field were very scary. Several adults had been waiting. Some were concerned about my diabetes as they knew I was on my way to lunch when I stopped by to document the situation at the field.
I learned later that several kids were traumatized by the events. One, whom I coach in socccer, ran home and called his mother, who had to hurry back from Manhattan to console him. A nineyear- old I help coach in baseball cried so much that her mom had to take her home, where she “passed out for several hours.” One child sat next to me and placed his head on my shoulder for a long time; another gave me balloons.
INCIDENT: 2012 - CHRIS ENOCK'S 14 YEAR OLD SON
My friends and I were hanging out behind island house at the park, me and my friends were at the bottom of a stair case of about 17 stairs, so who ever was at the top of the stair case couldn’t see us, who in this case was our friend. My friends are skaters so as you would guess, they were skating. Luke was trying to ollie the set of stairs we were at. Next thing you know, a Public Safety Officer walks over and tells us that we have to leave. We tell her that another officer had just kicked us out of the church and told us to come here. She didn’t respond and just told us that we had to leave now, we asked her if our friend could try this trick one more time, she said no, and we tried to tell our friend to not do it again, but like I said before, he couldn’t see us, which means he couldn’t see the psd officer, and he also had his head phones in, so he went for it again, un aware of the situation. He did not land it, and while he was getting up, and saw the psd officer, the officer walked up the stairs, took his board, and started to walk away with it, we were trying to explain to her that he couldn’t see us and had his head phones in, but she simpily kept walking with out turning around or saying a word. We also tried telling her that we did not get a warning by any officer earlier in the day, and that it was our friends birthday. Still no response.
After this we went to the psd station to try and get my friends board back, but the lady behind the desk would respond with the same exact response, “if you want your board back, you have to get an adult down here”, we tried explaining to her the same thing we were explain to the other officer, he was un aware of the situation, we had not been warned before, and that it was his birthday. As many people would have guessed, she did not care one bit. After we had tried explaining about 4 times, that when she said the one thing that every single one of us lost respect for psd for, she laid over the desk so she was sanding over us, looked each of us in the eye for at least five seconds each, with a disscusted look on her face, and said, “listen, we run this island, and this is OUR island”… after that, I had lost all respect for psd, because that sentence could not have been more wrong”.
One incident, way back during 2006c: One of the PSD officers brought my boy home claiming that there was an attempt to rob my son and that he feared for his safety, being that the culprits were still on the loose.
I thanked her and then went down to Public Safety in investigate. They denied me much information maintaining that they "had everything under control" and that I should go home. So, then I felt that I should claim an official report over the incident, but Public Safety insisted that I should not file the report and leave their premise being that "they'd take care of it".
Now, I insisted that I'd prefer to file an official report to which Public Safety responded with a threat: either I leave now without filing the report or they'd arrest me.
Well, they ended up attacking and choking me, my wife and son fruitlessly trying to wrestle their grip off my throat. I was arrested and spent the weekend at the "tombs" and returning to court every month for about 5 months [missing work on those days] before they dropped the charges.
Last night (8/23/09), as I drove down the ramp with my fiancé, out of Motorgate came a vehicle. The driver waited till I entered the ramp, tailed me down, followed me up Main Street, around the park, and in front of 20 River Road. He blocked me, and had me roll down the window. Then PSD Officers H. Rodriguez and C. Gilmore questioned why I had "only slowed down” and not stopped at the ramp's end.
I am an advocate of safer roads and a professional PSD. I spent three years on RIRA, after PSD harassment in 2002. I helped a woman on crutches into my building. An out-of-control officer attempted to arrest me and impound my car for parking illegally, despite open doors, a running engine, and me within eyeshot. The summons was laughed out of court.
I was in no mood to be harassed again. I denied their allegation. I was blunt, but I was not profane.
What I did not know at the time was that one officer had radioed his sergeant for instructions. She told him to give the motorist a verbal warning about the alleged "California roll", and to move on.
Rodriguez and Gilmore chose not to obey their superior. Procedural Violation #1.
They demanded license, registration and insurance, then commanded me to park my car illegally alongside 10 River Road. Violation #2. Gilmore had me step out, and they HANDCUFFED ME. My fiancé requested the return of her registration and insurance. Rodriguez and Gilmore refused, telling her she could park her car in Motorgate, with no documents. She noted that this was illegal. They said, do it anyway. Violation #3.
I was taken in handcuffs to the 90-degree PSD bicycle garage, chained to a bench, and refused water (I'm on medication), while Rodriguez took one hour to write out two summonses. This did not end until the sergeant asked when he'd be finished. Two minutes later.
The first citation for failure to stop after the ramp had become a failure to stop at THREE STOP signs (including a left around the park, with pedestrians present).
The second: the Henry Louis Gatesesque "Disorderly Conduct". Despite never unbuckling my seat belt or leaving my car.
According to information given us during my time on RIRA, PSD has the authority to DETAIN people. but a booking must be done by the NYPD, usually the 114th. RIRA was responsible for getting the 114th to assist us, instead of Manhattan's 19th.
Rodriguez and Gilmore harassed me, cuffed me and embarrassed me because they could. They dragged me away with no intention of contacting NYPD. Violation #4, reprising #1: disobeying the command to verbally warn the motorist.
PSD has asked for the budget to hire a total of 80 "officers" like Rodriguez and Gilmore. They have been granted 38. I would urge RIOC to polish up their current roster a bit better, before they go dumping their budget on 42 more Rodriguezes and Gilmores.
On Monday evening, 10.21.02, I was returning home to Manhattan Park on Roosevelt Island, with my fiancé Anita Unterweiser. Ms. Unterweiser recently underwent elaborate foot surgery, and as of this writing is still on crutches. It has fallen to me to be her sole form of transportation to and from work at Radio Computing Services, a software firm in White Plains, New York, where I also work part-time. Ms. Unterweiser has an official blue Handicapped sign, issued by her home state of New Jersey, which has been mounted visibly from the rear view mirror of my 1987 Ford Mustang convertible since her surgery.
At approximately 7:45 p.m., I drove down the southbound-only lane on the western side of the park at River Road, in front of my high-rise building at 20 River Road. The curb in front of the building was filled with vans and cars, most parked illegally. In front of the door was another parked vehicle, and alongside it, there was a black limousine-type vehicle, double-parked with its driver sitting inside.
I stopped my car quite a few yards short of this limo, in the virtual lane created by his double-parked vehicle. I left the engine running on my car, and the lights on, and I helped Ms. Unterweiser out of the car, and retrieved her crutches from the back seat. I unloaded her computer case and the rest of her belongings, and I helped her into the building. My intention was to unload Ms. Unterweiser and her belongings, as quickly as possible, help get her safely into my apartment (just off the elevator, on the second floor), and run back downstairs and park my car at the Motorgate Garage, where we both rent parking spaces.
This temporary stopping in front of the building is LEGAL; according to General Provisions of New York City Traffic Regulations (Section a4), the loading and unloading of people or belongings does NOT constitute any form of illegal parking or standing: "When parking is prohibited by signs or rules, no person shall stop a vehicle, attended or unattended, except temporarily for the purpose of and while expeditiously receiving or discharging passengers or loading or unloading property to or from the curb."
We entered the lobby and I grabbed the elevator. We went up one floor, and I opened the door to my apartment several feet away. I held it open for Ms. Unterweiser, on her crutches. Then I wheeled her belongings in after her and left, without pausing in any way. I then took the stairwell to the lobby, to save time, and left the building via the exit closest to where my car was standing. I was later told by an eyewitness in the lobby that the entire process, from exiting the car to my exiting the building again, appeared to him to have taken approximately two minutes.
When I reached the sidewalk, there were two uniformed employees of RIOC's Public Safety Department running around my car, which was still going, with the lights still on. They had pulled their marked vehicle alongside my car, perhaps ten inches from the driver's door. This had the dual effects both of making it almost impossible to re-enter my car, as well as completely closing off River Road's southbound one-way fork in front of 20 River Road. River Road remained blocked to all traffic for at least the next half hour.
One of the two female uniformed employees was taking down my license plate number, and when she saw me heading toward my car, started yelling at me to the effect of, "This car is parked illegally! Sir, you are subject to a $105 [not sure of amount] fine!"
I immediately responded, "Excuse me! This car is NOT parked, nor is it illegal"
The uniformed employee then raised her voice and started talking over me, "Sir, shut your mouth and back away now, or I will handcuff and arrest you!"
I said I would most assuredly not "shut up"; she continued talking over me. I started talking louder, too, and becoming more agitated. I told her once again, in no uncertain terms, that the statutes were on my side, and that I was perfectly, legally entitled to drop off a passenger and unload items. She kept yelling at me and threatening me by rattling her handcuffs in my face.
I asked her repeatedly if I could get back into my car, as she was physically preventing it or me from moving. She ignored me repeatedly and just kept threatening me with arrest.
I finally told her to go ahead and write me the ticket for illegal parking or whatever, and that it would just get thrown out of court under aforementioned Section a4, but that I could then get in my car and leave. At this point, she informed me, "I'm gonna write you a summons for DISTURBING THE PEACE!"
Startled, I said, "You're going to do WHAT?!?" The other uniformed employee was now yelling at me as well, from another position near the marked vehicle, and threatening me with arrest. The first woman started making a call on her walkie-talkie, and I said to her, "Okay! May I please have the name of your commanding officer?"
The first uniformed employee responded, "You're gonna MEET him, in about one minute!" Not more than 30 seconds later, another uniformed employee, male, pulled up behind my car in a golf cart-type open vehicle. He got out and walked over to my car, in the narrow space between the two autos. I had already been informed that a summons was being written, and I was ordered to stay put and go nowhere. Besides, the proximity of the two female uniformed employees' vehicle, and their lurking in front of my car, made driving away impossible.
The male uniformed employee said, "What seems to be the problem?" I said, "Are you the commanding officer?" He replied in the affirmative. I introduced myself as politely as I could:
"Sir, hi, I'm Russ DiBello, and I live here at 20 River Road." I stuck my hand out to shake his hand, and he refused to offer his.
I continued, "I know you probably won't believe this, but I swear this is true: I just dropped a woman on crutches off here. My girlfriend. These officers are trying to write me a summons for parking illegally, which I'm not. The statutes clearly indicate that I am allowed to load and unload passengers, which I was doing."
The "commanding officer", identified as "Sgt. Yee" (#5052), replied to the effect of, "Sir, you are being cited for Disorderly Conduct."
I attempted to reason with the officer and explain that the two female uniformed employees had escalated the verbal argument over a traffic citation which they were erring in making, but Sgt. Yee continued the line of response that if I continued to argue, I would be arrested. I called my fiancé on my cell phone, and she informed me she was coming back downstairs to the scene. A minute later, on crutches, she hobbled back out of the elevator and across the lobby, and came outside.
She immediately heard the argument with Sgt. Yee, his threats to take me in. She started addressing Yee to the effect that I had every right to drop off a passenger, that there was no traffic violation involved, so what was all the fuss about?
First, Yee kept taunting me with "You don"t even know what you're charged with!" Then, speaking to nobody in particular, Yee reasserted the charge of Disorderly Conduct; Ms. Unterweiser asked him, "What, precisely, constitutes this alleged "disorderly conduct"?"
Yee responded pointedly, "Are you DEAF?" He then made a loud and overly-dramatic assertion to the effect: "I feel threatened by your behavior!"
Then, when I reiterated that they go could ahead and give me the ticket, and I could go to court and prevail, Yee started a litany of, "You have no choice; you HAVE to go to court." In fact, he said it so often, that I finally said, "Do you know, I have to go to court?"
Ms. Unterweiser asked, "Officer, why are you deliberately PROVOKING this man?"
He did not answer that question.
At this point, after me standing in front of a running car for nearly twenty minutes and watching my fiancé teetering precariously on her crutches, I asked if the simple act of giving me a ticket was going to take all night, Yee flatly stated, "Why not? I got nothin' else to do. I need the overtime".
He then claimed that he had WITNESSED my alleged "Disorderly Conduct", and I immediately shot back, "Why are you LYING? These officers of yours just called you for backup, and had already informed me that I was being charged with Disorderly Conduct. Why are you lying, like that? You just got here!". He just smirked.
I continued, "You see that limo over there? He was here when I got here, he's still double-parked, and your officers did not say one word to him about moving his vehicle?"
Yee replied, "That isn't my problem." I said, "Look, I LIVE here! I'm a resident! Why are you singling me out? Is it because I'm not docile in the face of this abuse? Is it because.."
Yee interrupted me. He said one word only: "White"
I stopped cold, speechless, not at all sure at what I'd heard. I looked over at Ms. Unterweiser, who also appeared stunned. I said to Yee, "EXCUSE me? WHAT did you just say? I'm not sure I heard what you just said ? WHAT?"
Yee repeated himself, "I said "white".
I was silent for a few very long seconds. Then I recovered, and responded, "EXCUSE ME, Officer? Are you saying that you hate me or something because I'm "white"?. Yee replied, smirking once again, "I never said that."
At this point, I realized that further conversation with these people would be fruitless, and the first of the female uniformed employees was still standing in front of my car, rattling her handcuffs ominously at me. I turned my attention to Ms. Unterweiser, who at some point had stumbled on her crutches and fallen onto the hood of my car, to the appreciative chuckles of the uniformed female PSD employees.
Yee went on to conference with the uniformed woman inside the PSD vehicle, later identified on the ticket as Darlene Harris, for an extensive length of time, as she continued to compose my summons for "Disorderly Conduct". It was now approaching a half hour in the street (still blocking all oncoming traffic), and this woman had not been able to complete one side of a summons, with maybe ten words on it. Yee was consulting with her, intently, adding to the process. The other unidentified female uniformed officer continued to rattle her handcuffs.
Ms. Unterweiser called out, "Officer, I would take it as a kindness if you could expedite this process, because it's really hard to keep standing here on these crutches". Officer Harris smirked, but no one else responded. They continued to write out this ticket for what must have been another five minutes.
Meanwhile, the unidentified female PSD employee had walked over with a pad of paper to two male passers-by, standing by the park entrance on River Road. She appeared to be interrogating them intently. Thinking they might make credible witnesses, I called out to them from where I stood. Agitated, both this woman and Yee, who turned his attention back to me, yelled at me similar commands, to the effect of, "This does not involve you! This does not involve you! You can't talk to them!"
I ceased my attempt. We already had other credible witnesses, whom I have since contacted. They are willing to testify that I in no way appeared threatening or violent during this entire confrontation, which, admittedly, got verbally heated. As stated earlier, the PSD people deliberately tried to provoke me, and it was my distinct feeling and that of Ms. Unterweiser, what with the rattling of handcuffs and all, that Yee was trying to get me to react in a manner which could be construed to justify handcuffing and arresting me on the spot. Knowing this, I did not allow the confrontation to reach that level.
The summons was finally written, and PSD left, half an hour after creating this scene in front of my home. The charge was indeed "Disorderly Conduct".
But it is key to point out that I WAS NOT CITED FOR ANY TRAFFIC VIOLATION WHATSOEVER. Allegedly, it had been a matter of traffic statutes which gave Ms. Harris and the unidentified PSD woman the entre to accost me and detain me for at least a half hour. But in the end, NO TRAFFIC VIOLATION, just a "cover charge" appeared on the summons.
I truly believe that this "cover charge" was issued by the first PSD employee in RETALIATION for indicating at the outset that I knew what was in the parking statute, which of course made her actions inappropriate. This so-called "officer's" behavior all night long was agitated, confrontational, and inappropriate for a supposedly professional "peace officer". She unnecessarily escalated this dispute beyond what a professional should do with someone suspected of a parking violation; in the end, she tacitly acknowledged this, by her not even writing up such a parking violation, proving that she didn't even have just cause to confront me in the first place AND KNEW IT.
We have reason to suspect that she may have been involved in several similar incidents involving the abuse of Roosevelt Island residents. The bogus "Disorderly Conduct" charge is proof of her gross misconduct in this matter, and we feel strongly that disciplinary action against this "loose cannon" is imperative, under the circumstances.
I had a very civil phone conversation the next day with Rene Bryan of PSD. I had asked for a conference with the chief of PSD, Jim Fry, and been assured by RIOC head Robert Ryan I would get one. He apparently delegated this duty to an underling.
Mr. Bryan listened carefully and politely to this accounting, apparently already equipped with statements from the employees on duty the night before. He questioned me accordingly; I responded truthfully. The one area of my account which seemed to take Mr. Bryan aback the most was when he asked me, paraphrasing now, "Excuse me, Mr. DiBello, are you saying that the officers would not allow you to move your car?"
I replied, "That is absolutely correct, sir. I asked the first officer repeatedly if I could just move my car. SHE REFUSED to let me do so. Why else would my car be still running with the lights on? What else would I be doing, except going on to the parking garage and getting the car off the street?"
Roosevelt Island is an international community made up of all types of residents, including employees and delegates of the United Nations. On any given day after 9.11.01 or on any morning after a terrorist alert, Secret Service agents can be seen waiting for UN people, to escort them to work. I shudder to think of what would happen to one of these people, with perhaps less of a command of English than mine, were they to be confronted violently on something as nearly meaningless as a traffic violation by a PSD employee like the woman who escalated my situation to near-crisis level. RIOC should dread the possible political and media repercussions.
At this point, it is only a matter of time before this happens. As of now, this unprofessional Public Safety Department causes more problems than it's worth to people like me, whose rent pays half their salaries.
20 River Road
New York, New York 10044
Hello My Name is Stacey Dickerson I've been a resident of Roosevelt Island for over 37 years. I am the mother of 7 children, and suffer from severe Rheumatoid Arthritis with visible signs. I can relate to the incident with Anthony Jones as I too received injures from Public Safety Officers due to an incident that happened on June 19th 2011. My daughter was in an altercation with two other girls and I was trying to protect her from falling into the glass, public safety told me to move but at the same time I was trying to remove my daughter from harms way, as I was also trying to follow their orders. I guess I wasn't moving fast enough and they thought I was interfering with the arrest of my daughter. They then grabbed me and said I was under arrest and I simply told them I didn't understand why I was being arrested, they tried to handcuff me which I pleaded with them not to put my arms behind my back due to my limitation of my joints. I even told them to handcuff me in a different manner (front or side). I told them they were going to shut me down, there was also several witness who yelled that my arms cannot go back, they continued to force my arms behind me and then as they took me to the office I asked to go to the hospital, the EMS came but I had to refuse because they told me I would go to central bookings right from the hospital if I did go with the EMS people a summons was issued and I was released. The next day the security officer was looking for me to recant the summons and apologize but the damage was already done, I went the following day and saw my doctor who stated he had never seen such marked swelling and inflammation of my left hand until after the date of the assault. From that day June 19th 2011 to present I still suffer and now have less limitations and constantly going back and forth to doctors. This is a quick overview of my situation .
INCIDENT: JUNE 4, 2010 - BY A DIPLOMAT
I am a Diplomat, so therefore I can not get involved in any political activities, neither protests or anything similar
I am asking you to use my comments as an anonymous, and to avoid particular details.
On june 4, 2010 I had a terrible experience. My landlord (Manhattan Park) pour strong chemicals in the apartment next door and they did not follow protocol (open windows, use fans, seal door). On consequence I started breathing those chemicals inside my close door apartment and started feeling wizzy. I communicated with the landlord and they did nothing.
When I was coughing too much, I went down to the lobby of my apartment building. I was waiting for my husband to arrive to take me to the Dr for a check-up. I was feeling so bad that I was crying. Next thing I know there's the PSD stationed outside the building in a car and inside my lobby.
They told me in English that I have to go with them, that I was being arrested because the landlord (Brian Weisberg) have asked them to do so. I was so surprised, and my wallet with my IDs and Inmunity card were inside my apartment, that the only thing that I can think of was to answer to them in Spanish that I was a Diplomat and demanded the presence of my Embassador/Consular Representative and gave them a phone number.
They kept asking me over and over, I was crying, coughing, with difficulty to breath. I dial immediately to the Consulate and told the Protection Dept that PSD was trying to arrest me for crying in the lobby.
Then another PSD officer told me again that I had to go with them. I said the same thing in Spanish, that I am a diplomat and that I demmanded the presence of my embassador and gave them a phone number (Phone number of the Consulate of my country in NY). This officer speaks Spanish so he told the concierge of the building and the rest of the PSD that they can not take me in because I have already informed my Embassy (when in fact was my consulate) and that it will be a big problem if they do something to me. That they will station one PSD officer in the lobby in case I wanted to do something.
My husband arrived 1 hour later and he called an ambulance in his way home. I kept in communication with my consulate all the time while I was in the lobby, so that way I avoided being arrested.
I end up in the Emergency room diagnosed with chemical inhalation, and they told me that the best thing that I did was moving to a better ventilated area, that it should have been best if I was not inside a building but lets say a sidewalk.
So PSD instead of protecting me or call an ambulance they did what the landlord told them to do: arrest me.
Between February or March 2010, 2 males got inside my apartment while I was getting dressed. They are Manhattan Park contractors. By mistake they were given my apt keys and written orders to access other apt in my floor. Those men came right inside my apt and were spying me while I got dress. I was scared I cover myself and chase them to the door with a bottle of moisturizer in my hand , and my door was completely closed (the 2 locks and the chain) so it took time for them to open the door. I called PSD and 911 and my landlord (Brian Weisberg). PSD arrived first, and after my explanation they told me: It's all right for the landlord to come inside your apartment anytime he wants. It doesn't matter if he contracts someone to do repairs or to check the property. The 2 men are consider landlord because they were here in behalf of the landlord. We can not do anything talk to your landlord. PSD left. 20 to 30 min later NYPD arrived and as I told them the story and they told me that in the lobby of my apt the landlord approach them to tell them that I have over reacted and that they were trying to make repairs in my apartment and that I didn't allowed the contractors to come in. Imagine my surprise!! Not only PSD said that it's OK to have strange men inside my apartment while getting dress in the morning with out my authorization, but the police came to my apt with their minds set by my landlord. They could have rape me or worse.....
Again, PSD protects the Landlord and the landlord interferes with the actual NYPD because they intercept them in the lobby and tells them whatever they want to make up.
In another ocassion, late at night I called PSD because my neighbors were having a bad argument with what we think was punches and were throwing things (our wall was been hitted). PSD came, knock the door (I know because they knock on my dor first). They asked if everything was OK and leave. Weeks later, my husband and me were watching a movie (I admitted very loud) and next thing we know PSD was knocking on our door, demanded to go inside our apt, demanded to see our IDs (we showed them our Inmunity cards) and then demanded our passports and visas (yes what the hell!!!). We didn't gave them to them, we showed them with out handing them over. They wrote down our complete info in a notebook (name, address, my husbands work address, passport #) and left.
As of today, after the incident of Mr Jones, I am carrying a photocopy of my Visa so in case I am stopped by PSD they have to call my consulate/embassy and I have my consulates emergency number in Speed Dial.
I am not afraid of PSD, in fact there are 2 persons there that have been very nice to me and my family. Too bad that I do not know the names.
Please Erin, you are free to use my information but try to protect our identity. Mainly because we are certain that PSD works with and for the Landlords.
INCIDENT: POSTED ON 2/11/2013
My stories are extremely minor compared to a lot of others, but since some people seem skeptical of the bigger stories, thinking these might just be troublemakers who want to get back at the PS dept, I have to say, it's not. This isn't loudmouth troublemakers or street thugs or whatever you might think it is. These are things happening to regular law-abiding citizens and it's atrocious that every day life has to be tainted by these people.
My father had to have a talking to with Mr. Guerra around the start of his career here when I moved back from college & one of the PS officers kept stopping my vehicle only to come up to the window to try to chat with me. He would make me stop my car on the street whenever he was in the road, and come up to my window, then start trying to strike up a conversation having absolutely nothing to do with his job. He wasn't stopping to ticket me (I had done nothing to warrant such a thing) or warn me of anything dangerous going on--nothing remotely PS related. He was simply using his authoritative power to stop me. I would ask him if there was anything I had done wrong or if I could be on my way & he would hem & haw until he'd finally let me go. These are the people Mr. Guerra hires. Fortunately, I haven't seen that one around recently, whether he's gained weight & I don't recognize him or for whatever other reason.
I had another driving issue with a PS officer who stopped me from driving into the loading dock area of Rivercross, yelling at me, saying I couldn't park there. I said I wasn't parking, I was trying to get into the docking spot, but she blocked my way, yelling at me that there's yellow markings on the floor, so that means I can't park, but then also yelling at me for blocking the street with my vehicle. I told her, I wouldn't be blocking the road if you would just let me get into the loading area--pointing out the signs and the designated loading area to her. She shouted "I don't know how that work!" at which point I was just dumbfounded. She was making such a scene, but if she didn't understand the function of a loading dock, there wasn't really much I could say to explain such a simple concept of "how that work"... Another officer joined her, but luckily my family came out of the building with the things to load and the other officer said something to the PS woman & they both took off.
I spend very little time on RI outside of my apt despite living here my whole life because whether it's hanging out on a lawn trying to have a picnic, or taking pictures, PS will always be there to harass. They will threaten to arrest you for taking pictures on the promenade or for sitting somewhere they don't want you to sit. It's been that way my whole life. Hopefully with the new influx of people and the new budding businesses, the increased visibility will lead to the whole system of Public Safety being abolished. As it is, we pay taxes for NYPD, and we should have THEM here, not a poorly regulated & poorly trained group of thugs pretending to be "peace officers." What a joke...
Oh and these are the same thugs that Guerra wants to give TASERS... Horrifying...
INCIDENT: THURSDAY JULY 26, 2012
I am still in shock and utter disbelief over the events that took place on Thursday July 26th, 2012. It was approximately 9:00pm and I had just returned home from doing some shopping with my mother. After dropping my mother off in front of 510 I proceeded to drive down Main Street to park my parents’ car in Motorgate. While driving passed building 540 I was behind the red mini bus. Upon stopping at the crosswalk the bus driver waved his arm to me indicating I was able to pass him. I put my signal light on and drove passed the red mini bus, which was still dropping off passengers. Three women ran out in front of the mini bus, I stopped and waved my hand, signaling to them that it was safe to cross (even though they should have been using the crosswalk). As I continued driving a public safety officer who happened to be standing outside of the public safety office, Sgt. Ingrid Veras, ran up to the vehicle and said, "On Roosevelt Island we do not pass the mini bus!” Initially I was in shock for several different reasons. First because after 22 years of living here I have never heard of this. It is not a New York City rule that a car cannot drive passed a bus pulled into a bus stop. If this is in fact a Roosevelt Island rule, where is it written? And where can the residents obtain this information? Secondly for someone who is so concerned with the "people's safety" she did not even suggest to the three individuals that they use the crosswalk, and thirdly the way in which she approached the vehicle was very unnecessary. I replied to Sgt. Veras by saying okay and suggesting to her that the people exiting the bus be directed to use the crosswalk for their own safety. I suppose that this was not obvious to her because she then rolled her eyes and told me to pull over and give her my license and registration. I did as I was told. I was then asked to take out the car's insurance. Since this was the first time I had ever been pulled over I was flustered and tried to explain that to her. Because I was not sure if it was a card or piece of paper that she was asking for I asked her just that. Knowing that information would have helped me to limit the places to look, making it easier to give her what she was asking for. Sgt. Veras rolled her eyes, again and asked for the car's insurance, completely ignoring what I had asked her. Not knowing what to do at this point, and obviously receiving no help from the "kind peace officer", I then asked if I was able to call my mother explaining that she would know where the insurance, because it is my parents’ car. She said fine. As I was on the phone with my mother Sgt. Veras yelled at me saying "Get of the phone now!" After hearing her yelling at me over the phone and suddenly being hung up my mother had become concerned and asked my father to come downstairs. My father had just returned home from driving the red mini bus himself, which he had been doing for the past 7 years. After Sgt. Veras was done yelling at me she rolled her eyes in disgust and walked away from the car, just leaving me there. I continued looking for the insurance papers, and within minutes my father had arrived. He came into the car and immediately knew where the paperwork was and brought it into the office. At this point Sgt. Veras' attitude was out of control and out of line, after my father tried giving her the paperwork and explaining who he was her exact words to him were, "Don' bring that bullshit in here to me!" My father asked her why she was cursing at him and she immediately yelled out cuff him! My father is 55 years old and weighs all of 140 pounds, 4 officers grabbed my father by his arms and legs, kicking him in the knees and back to knock him to the ground. As you can imagine this was horrifying to have to watch, and even worse because I was unable to do anything to help him. My father who has lived here for 25 years, worked for RIOC for seven years, who was just trying to help his daughter was now being taken out of public safety in a stretcher and being arrested. Is this what our public safety officers have come to? It is sad that this negative outlook classifies all the officers because there are a few good officers that have made it their business throughout the years to get to know the members of this community and work with them. Those officers actually "provide a safe and secure environment for the residents", as the mission statement reads directly from the RIOC website. Also found on RIOC's website for the public safety department is a clear job description for the officers, it reads "As peace officers we work in partnership with Roosevelt Islanders to make our Island safe, and as pleasant a place to live as we can". I find it very confusing how some of these officers such a Sgt. Veras can be called peace officers when they exhibit no form of proper social skills and lack the ability to communicate in a professional manner. One would think that as peace officers they would be able to use words to diffuse situations instead of escalating them. They are so quick to put handcuffs on someone because they do not know how to handle situations. I can only begin to imagine what kind of terrifying stories there would be if they are allowed to handle tasers. To think a whole situation could have been avoided by one of our "peace officers" yet because of her lack of patience and terrible attitude, a bigger issue had occurred. Unacceptable!
INCIDENT: OCTOBER 10, 2010
There was an incident on October 10, 2010 with my twin sons, and public safety. I did file a complaint with RIOC. Erica Wilder explained to me that I have to give the complaint form to the person in charge of public safety. The two officers involved are Brian Rivera, badge #3978, and David Vernet #4858. They were not the only security officers involved, but they were the ones that started the fight. I just want to tell you that witnesses say that one of my sons, Joshua Strickland was punched in the face, and knocked on the floor by Brian Rivera, and when he got up to walk away, Rivera proceeded to punch him again. Knocking him to the floor, and told him he was under arrest. Joshua's brother, Joel Strickland, tried to pull Rivera off of his brother, when the rest of public safety came out of the office, and starting to punch, kick, stomp, even tried to throw Joshua through the public safety office glass. The sergeant stood by witnessing all of this. The lieutenant , and another public safety officer saw what was going on, came out of the office, and said what are you doing. They then proceeded to pull the officers off of Joshua and Joel.
I was not there, but I will say that when I was called to come to pick them up , they were beaten up so bad EMS had to be called to take them to the hospital. My children were not released to me, because the sgt. told me that since they had a fight with the security guards, they were going to the 114 precinct, and then to Spotfford. This incident happened around 9:30 pm. Rivera, and Vernet came to the hospital around 2:45 am, and told me that I had to meet them at the 114 precinct, where my sons will be released to me. Oh, Joshua, and Joel were handcuffed while receiving treatment from the pediatrician at Elmhurst Hospital. Public Safety had to get their story together so that they could try to find something to charge them with. When I met them at 114, the sergeant (a real police officer with the NYPD), asked my boys were they alright, and said to Rivera and Vernet, did you beat those boys up like that? He shook his head, and told them to take the handcuffs off them, and walked in the back to his office.
This incident all took place right in front of the Public Safety office in front of a lot of witnesses. I do want to let you know that Public Safety Officers Rivera and Vernet, are so called detectives. They walk around in plain clothes, with badges hung around their neck. Is this needed here? I have heard some stories about this Rivera guy, and that are not good at all. He has been a problem ever since working here 2 years ago. The Chief is aware of what is going, because there have been a lot of complaints against the night staff, Brian Rivera is the lead bully. Public Safety keeps harassing the residents here in Eastwood, especially the young males. The stories that are surfacing about this night staff are unreal. Something has to be done.
I really am not able to talk too much about the case, because I asked to take it to trial for fact finding. They boys have an attorney.
No. I never met with Guerra. I sent the complaint straight to RIOC. Erica Wilder called me, and told me that she could not do anything for me until I meet with Guerra. She is the one that suggested for me to reach out to you, Romano, and the PSD committee. I did not meet with Guerra, because he is full of himself, and nothing you say is heard. One of the Sergeants spoke to him on my behalf. The sergeant told him that my sons were not bad kids, that they did not
have a criminal record with PSD or NYPD, but he did not want to hear it. That was enough for me not to meet with him. Do you think that meeting with him would have changed anything?
… I also went to Senator Serrano's office to speak with them about the incident. I will add that I was not allowed to ride in the ambulance with them (they just turned 14), the PSD sergeant told me, they were under arrest, and I could not ride in the ambulance with them. I caught a taxi to Elmhurst hospital in Queens. Arriving five minutes behind them, with a witness to what happened. My children were handcuffed to the bed while the doctor examined them. There was a PSD officer guarding them at the hospital. When the pediatrician finished examining them, (around 10:00 pm), we waited on what I thought was NYPD, but at approximately 2:30 am the two of the officers that assaulted my sons came, and told me that we had to go with them to the 114th precinct, and my sons will be released. Just wanted to add that while we were waiting the emergency room at the hospital, my children had handcuffs on the hands, and feet.
Blotter disclaimer: This is the original story sent to the Public Safety Committee back in December 2010. Unfortunately the email address utilized was incorrect and it was not received at that time. Elaine was referred to a RIRA Public Safety committee meeting, following the filing of a law suit and of her complaint to RIOC, to question what could be done about having these two Officers removed from patrolling her building, which she felt was re-traumatizing her children and herself on a daily basis. Present at the meeting was the RIOC Board Member Howard Polivy and former RIRA President Matthew Katz, and the Present RIRA President Ellen Polivy, in the capacity as a committee member.
THE BRUTAL ATTACK ON MIMI FERDINAND"S CHILDREN - JULY 14, 2009
Kimberly Ferdinand is a hard working Nursing School college student. On July 14 2009, was driving her mother on Main Street, dropped her off in front of her building (580 Main Street), and was on her way to park in Motorgate, did a U turn at the roundabout and was heading North.
In the process, she received a phone call from her mother, grabbed her cellphone and officer Nicholas Sage stopped her and proceeded in giving her a ticket for using the cell phone. She had not answered the call yet, from her mom. Officer Sage went out of sight behind between 546 and 580 and started writing the ticket.
It happened that Kimberly’s brother –Herns- was walking back from a basketball game when he noticed his sister’s car and proceeded to inquire about what’s going on. She explained that she was stopped by PSD officer to get a ticket. While he was talking to his sister, Hernz was suddenly grabbed from the back and shoved away from the car by officer Sage who yelled: “What the f—k are you doing here?” Herns said “this is my sister”, when officer Sage said “I don’t f---ing care” and 2 other officers grabbed him in a headlock and officer Sage pepper-sprayed him straight in the eyes. Residents on the scene started yelling at the officers about their brutality. Kimberly stepped out of the car to attend to her brother when an unmarked officer grabbed her and slammed her head to the car and handcuffed her arms.
Mimi Ferdinand witnessed the whole brutal process and pleaded for leniency at no avail. As Herns was screaming in pain “I can’t see” Mimi demanded to transport him to a hospital. An ambulance came and took Herns and one officer got in and was driven to New York Hospital. Mimi elected to stay with her daughter fearing for further brutality from the officers. Kimberly was escorted to the 114 Precinct in Queens in an unmarked car. Mimi followed them in her car to the Precinct.
Kimberly was behind closed doors with the PSD and NYPD officers for several hours. Herns was brought in and was put with his sister. Mimi felt helpless in assisting her children and was not given definite answers to their whereabouts. She went back home to attend to her younger daughter Nathalie (10 years old). Mimi was told that her children will be sent to Central Booking, but had no information all night long.
At 9:00 AM, after getting her daughter to school, and was on her way to Central Booking in Manhattan, when one of the PSD officers told her that Kimberly and Herns were actually returned to RI PSD at 2 AM because NYPD informed PSD that their paperwork was incorrectly filed and could not be admissible at the Precinct.
Both Kimberly and Herns spent the night handcuffed and without food nor water.
Since that incident, there is not one day that passes without me worrying about my kids from Public Safety. Every time they leave the house I tell them “Please be careful from Public Safety”. The very organization that is supposed to protect them!
Up until now I felt so helpless. When I see my friends’ children, I feel I want to go to them and warn them of the brutality that I have experienced.
At my arraignment yesterday the "Disorderly Conduct" charges against me were dismissed. I appeared before the judge with my lawyer and pleaded "not guilty" to the charges. The judge immediately dismissed the case stating that the charges were "too vague" and unfounded.
At no time, on May 30th, had I behaved in a disorderly manner -on the contrary, I tried my best to avoid being lured by Officer Toro to get angry and react. It is clear that we have a clear and very troubling problem. Too many interactions with some Public Safety officers lead to arrests, and minor incidents escalate to arrest, detention. and jail.