"This Is Our Island, Not Your Island" Says Roosevelt Island Public Safety Officer To Kids Reports Mom At Residents Meeting Yesterday With RIOC Directors On Recent Brutality Allegations
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee (audio web cast of public portion of meeting here) met yesterday to discuss the recent brutality complaint brought against the Public Safety Department. The meeting was held in executive session, closed to the public, at RIOC headquarters with RIOC Chairperson Darryl Towns in attendance. Mr. Towns rarely, if ever, attends RIOC committee meetings. His presence indicates the serious nature of these charges.
Members of the public were directed to sit, not in the waiting area of RIOC offices, but in a room far away from the conference room with a Public Safety Officer stationed in the corridor between the public and the conference room door
so as not to overhear what was said in the meeting. Following the executive session, the Operations Committee meeting was moved to a meeting room space at 2-4 River Road to accommodate the approximately 20-25 residents who wished to attend the public portion of the meeting and to speak on the issue of the Public Safety Department's relationship with the community.
The Public portion of the meeting began with Chairperson Michael Shinozaki announcing that they could not speak about the brutality allegation because it was the subject of pending litigation and that the matter has been submitted to the NY State Office of the Inspector General for review.
Here's a report from Channel 7 on the alleged brutality incident and the full Press Conference on the matter from post yesterday.
After the RIOC Operations Committee discussed several Agenda matters not involving the alleged brutality incident, members of the public made it known that they wanted to express their thoughts to the RIOC Directors on this incident and the relationship of the Public Safety Department with the community.
The common theme of residents complaints against the Public Safety Department were that the:
... culture of public safety has become to coin a common phrase a bullying culture...and:
... I don't understand why I have to feel that I have to protect my kids from Public Safety...One parent noted that children were told by a Public Safety Officer
... this is our Island not your Island...Another view expressed by a parent was:
... I am on the fence with Public Safety. I have seen abuse but I have also seen way more Public Safety Officers doing what they are supposed to do...which led to a brief heated discussion among friends.
At the end of the meeting the RIOC Directors were asked by me if after listening to all of the comments from residents, do they recognize that a management problem exists at the Public Safety Department. RIOC Director David Kraut said:
... these were all things we are looking at...but he couldn't comment more right now because of the pending litigation regarding the brutality allegations.
Here's the full Public Safety Discussion at night's RIOC Operations Committee meeting.