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Don’t be such a skater−hater.
Cops down−played resident concerns that a crew of skateboarders practicing flips and jumps near Bartel−Pritchard Square were turning their quiet nights into a living hell.
At a recent meeting sponsored by City Councilman Bill de Blasio, police from both the 78th and the 72nd precincts said that they have given out dozens of summonses to the late night skaters and other mischief making park−goers along the steps and adjoining parking lot near the south−western end of the park.
Deputy Inspector John Argenziano, the commanding officer of the 78th Precinct – which is responsible for the park – said that his officers have given out 47 summonses to people found inside the park after 1 a.m. Seventeen of those summonses were given out to people found on the Bartel−Pritchard Square side.
“Overall, I think we’re doing a good job in Prospect Park,” Argenziano explained. “We will put more people there, we will look at the situation.”
Yet residents say that giving out summonses is not enough, especially since three violent incidents have happened near Bartel−Pritchard Square over the last few months.
Residents complained that one of the skateboarders was stabbed inside the park during a late night skirmish on June 28.
The victim ran out of the park and collapsed on Prospect Avenue, they recalled. Responding officer arrested the three would be attackers.
About two weeks earlier, a would−be skateboarder pulled a box cutter on resident James Rallis, a longtime critic on how the police are handling the teens. Rallis claimed that at around 3 a.m. June 13 he called 911 because the skateboarders were being particularly loud. When the cops didn’t show up, he confronted the teens and was threatened.
“My complaint is not about the skateboarders — it’s about my quality of life,” Rallis told police at the meeting. “I want to be able to go to sleep, but they are there until 5 am.”
Late night violence has also been linked to the death of Carroll Gardens teen Sharif Abdallah, who died of a heart attack following a brawl inside the park on March 8.
Residents believe that the skater punks ruining their night are friends of Abdallah and live in Carroll Gardens.
Still, Lieutenant Patrick Diskin of the 78th Precinct disagrees with the characterization that nothing is being done to quiet the kids down.
“[The park is] a location where kids are allowed to use their skate boards,” he said. “But when people complain that it’s affecting their quality of life, we take action.
“You can’t summons every kid, but we respond when they’re up to no good,” he said, explaining that narcotics officers and other specialized police units go into the park routinely to see if drugs are being used or sold.
Residents have claimed that the skateboarders are both drinking and using drugs as they test out their board tricks.
Inspector Raul Pintos, the commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct, said that his officers, who are responsible for activities on the streets on the Windsor Terrace side of the park, was “doing everything they can to address residents concerns.”
Yet 911 calls, he said, don’t back up the concerns.
After a review of the logs, Pintos discovered that only two 911 calls had been made near Bartel−Pritchard Square between January 1 and June 14.
Yet from June 14 through July 1, three 911 calls were made.
“It’s ironic,” he said. “That’s more than half of the year.”
And the skaters?
Well, they have their own complaints.
According to The Brooklyn Paper, a CNG sister publication, some skaters said that residents have poured syrup on the park steps near Bartel−Pritchard Square to prevent them from using them for their tricks.
The would−be act of vandalism didn’t deter them, a skater said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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