Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Appropriate Response or Overreaction To Hammer Holding Roosevelt Island Resident By Public Safety Department Officers - Another Resident Says Thanks

Women With A Hammer Image by Charles Thomson from Heyoka Magazine

A reader of this post sends in the following message regarding her interaction with the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department yesterday morning.
I 100% agree with you! This morning, I went next door to check where a very loud noise had come from. I had a hammer in my hand as I had started fixing a gate that came lose, barrier from the living-room to the stair area as I have a 14 month old child. I am a 5'4 aprox. 100lbs female btw. As I knocked in the neighbor's home and he opened the door I saw the usual repair person and asked him what the loud noise was. I was frustrated as it was 8 am and my whole apartment was shaking from the driling including my son's bed. The repair guy called public safety as he supposedly felt threatened by my hammer (I did not even realize I have it in my hand) and while I turned away, got back to my apartment and was about to close the door 4 officers forced their way in while other random people walked in to enjoy spectatorship, taking over the staircase and interrogating me while accusing me of threatening the worker with the hammer. They attitude was extremely abusive and yelled at me to give them an id. I refused and said I did not wish to cooperate as I was being accused for I did not do. I have never in my life went through such shocking and abusive experience as I have never created any problems around me. The Public Safety Officers treated me as if I was a criminal. All I wanted was a quiet morning and instead I had 4 officers in my apartment threatening to handcuff me and drag me to the police station. All this in front of my 14 month old son. Absolutely outrageous. I am taking further action, will file complaint and have them apologize to me publicly.
Meanwhile, the whole hallway smells like marijuana at all time and nothing is being done about it.
Asked to comment on this incident, Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra replies:
I was made aware of this situation as soon as I arrived for work this morning, as it is the second incident where a resident goes to another apartment because of loud noise, carrying something in their hand. The prior incident involved a resident who stated she wasn't threatening the worker with the bat that was in her hand. (Coincidentally, an officer was hurt in that incident.) This time it was a hammer and again the person was not intending to appear threatening. If residents don't want to appear threatening, maybe they should leave the bats and hammers at home.

The resident further stated she was using a hammer in her own apartment, yet wrote in the blog that she wanted a quiet morning. She stated that the worker felt threatened and called Public Safety and that she went back to her apartment. Before she could close her door, 4 Public Safety Officers were there. That appears to be an incredible response time. She was asked for identification and openly admits she refused to cooperate. So, I ask you...what are the Public Safety Officers to do when they are called by someone feeling threatened by another person holding a hammer? They arrive on the scene and the person holding the hammer refuses to cooperate.
Mr. Guerra also forwarded this letter he received from another Roosevelt Island resident.
Clear DayThank You Public Safety
As a disabled person on RI, I am thankful for the assistance I received On Wednesday morning Dec.10th. My van (handicap accessible) did not start, I asked a Public Safety Officer for assistance and she immediately went into action and gave me her undivided attention.
My car battery needed a boost to get started.The battery booster I had did not work and the officer called for a back up battery starter and in a few minutes, a car pulled up and another officer had the proper equipment and I was underway to my destination thanking God for the courtesy and help shown me by the officers of Public Safety.
For all my Roosevelt Island Friends the next time you get a chance thank a Public Safety officer for helping old uncle Jim.


Anonymous said...

What the hell? What's that forwarded letter supposed to do? Tell us "Hey, we are the good guys! Don't listen to lunatics like the woman with the hammer?"

There must be a little more to the story about the hammer, though. Saying "leave the hammer home" is a stupid reply. We need to know what exactly happened in that woman's living room when the PSD officers arrived. How did it end? Does the PSD have the right to see id or do they have to call the NYPD?

I kind of expected Guerra to say something along the lines that he is going to look into this incident instead of outrightly defend the actions. We need oversight of the PSD. How about dissolving the PSD and have the NYPD move in? I think we have enough residents (and crime) now to justify such move.


The forwarded letter was sent to me by Mr.Guerra prior to the hammer incident and not in response to it.

I chose to include Uncle Jim's letter in same post only for balance purposes and not to question the veracity of the hammer women.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, Guerra is not defending the officers as much as he is defending the person who called Public Safety in the first place. Anonymous, instead of putting yourself in the place of the woman with the hammer, why don't you put yourself in the place of the person who called Public Safety, threatened by the woman with the hammer. There probably is more to the story. I seriously doubt that 4 Public Safety Officers just happened to be in that building, on that floor, all at the same time - by coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you all, but I always walk around with a hammer and don't even know I have it in my hand.

Anonymous said...

I am a former island resident (30 RR) and I must say, my move back to Florida was a great idea, because 90% of the people on that island are nothing but negative muckrakers who have serious illness problems. You hate public safety so bad, take it up the ladder past RIOC, take it to the state, take it federal, take it anywhere but a nonsense blog and a gossip newspaper.

Anonymous said...

What I think is hilarious is how people shit talk public safety all the time until they need them. Day 1 - "F Public Safety!" then the next day "Help public safety! I need to park in front of the breezeway to unload my groceries!" then the next day "my car died, can you jump it?" then another day "go to hell fake cops!" then the next day "please help I was robbed"

I feel bad for PSD sometimes. They really get shit on, but the people shitting on them are a bunch of whiners anyway who mean nothing in my book. They wouldnt last a second in the real city.

Anonymous said...

I am sure this is how the call came in:

"Hi public safety, what is your emergency?"

"yes, a woman just came up to me in eastwood with a hammer, she was quite angry, can you please send someone to check this out, she said I was making too much noise doing my work?"

"sure sir, right away"

[dispatches officers, stating a woman just had a dispute with a man in eastwood, and that she had a hammer. Officer respond using caution, and in a small group (due to fact that in the past an officer was hurt in same location with a baseball bat for a similar call) Upon arrival, the woman feels she did not do anything wrong, hence becomes defensive. PSD just wants to get the facts straight in the situation, but the woman becomes disorderly (since a numerous amount of people dislike PSD for NO reason, plus people feel they are always in the right)
Woman then argues back with officers]


I am sure this is exactly how the call went down.


being a small petite woman means absolutely nothing. You can be 4 foot 8 and 96 lbs and still be capable to kill or hurt someone. The woman with the hammer just wanted to be Roosevelt island blog famous for a day and get a rise out of the community.

In this case I award PSD the correct response.

PSD - 1 Small petite woman - 0

Anonymous said...

....Also, look up that PSD officers are NY STATE PEACE OFFICERS and have authority of ARREST. They can do just about anything NYPD does except stop question and frisk people on the street. They have the same duties and responsibilities and are crazy enough to do with WITHOUT A FIREARM.

Anonymous said...

"If I had a hammer...I'd hammer in the morning..."

Anonymous said...

I come to this blog often, I was thinking of moving to the area, and reading this "mambo jambo" every other week really makes me wonder if I can even trust the "residents" (you are in no way a resident of an island, you didn't settle here like pilgrims) due to their nonsense baby games and finger pointing. I live in a small town in the midwest. We have about 20000 people living in the area and a small force of law enforcers, called PUBLIC SAFETY. They are the POLICE of the area and they get nothing but respect from us. When public safety arrives you do what you are told.

I think I will move to a different Island, possibly Long Island, or Randalls Island. Half of you belong on Rikers (?) Island.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I am hearing. What a bunch of incensitive jerks we have living here. I am a long time resident of the Island. I see a bunch of insignificant people trying to be somebody.Is Public Safety perfect of course not. But, niether are we. They do a good job and thier getting better. They provide a service that we don't appreciate. to the jerk who wants NYPD to come in, your right there is'nt enough crime and why is that. Public Safety is the answer. Why do think people are moving here into $1,000,000 dollar apts. One the selling lines is there is'nt any crime.I recall many years ago when then Mayor Giuliani merged the three Police Depts. Since then I've read in the papers on numerous occassion how NYPD is taking back a public housing project because the drug dealers have run rampid. If it was taken back it means it was loss. The officers taken out of the bldgs were used for street duty.The residents of those bldgs will tell you that was a mistake.Let leave well enough alone and not make the same mistake.Let Public Safety continue to make RI a safe place to live and raise our families. May the na sayers rest in peace.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Reality check in aisle 3, please! RI has not been crime-free for a long time now. Look at the reports. Maybe you are staying away from all the "shady" places on RI but you cannot deny that there is drug dealing going on. Delivery folks are being robbed. Burglary is on the rise. Traffic violations are becoming more and more the norm. Walking down the seawall at night time is not for the faint-hearted anymore. Spend some time behind Coler on the parking lot after dark.

Anonymous said...

Robbery, burglary, larceny, assault, domestic violence. This is the norm on the island in the recent months. Don't you people see this or do you have the red ribbon over your eyes in la la land? You don't see the PSD officers bringing in suspects in handcuffs on an almost regular basis?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"If residents don't want to appear threatening, maybe they should leave the bats and hammers at home."

This is a fantastic line! It's true: If you don't want your intentions to be mistaken, pay some attention to what you have in your hand before you go knocking on someone else's door.

Anonymous said...


this was the funniest thing I've read all night.

It's amazing that this actually happened twice. When I was reading the hammer woman's letter or should I say illiterate woman's letter, I assumed it was the baseball bat story. It was a totally different story with the exact same circumstances. Wow.

At least the hammer woman didn't swing the bat at Public Safety and send an officer to the hospital and subsequently get arrested for felony assault.

Those stories never make it out though, do they?

Public Safety can do everything the Police can do. They can even use LETHAL force if warranted. It's just not with a gun. Imagine that.

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