Friday, January 13, 2017

Roosevelt Island Mom Assaulted After Asking Man To Stop Smoking Marijuana Next To Playground Filled With Children Yesterday - Safety Of Our Children And Their Parents Paramount Says RIOC Public Safety Chief

Talia is a Roosevelt Island Mom. She reports:

I wanted to share with you a difficult experience I had, yesterday.

I went to the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN) in Manhattan Park to pickup my son at 3pm. We left there walking on the west boardwalk towards home. We saw a guy next to the playground smoking marijuana. The smell was very strong, the guy smoked without fear of anyone (the playground was full of children).

I went to him with a smile and told him, please sir do not smoke here, so close to our children, the children can smell it, (I know it was stupid of me to contact him but I approached him with such a polite smile. ..) He started cursing at me with so many curses, I'm ashamed to tell you, and threatened me to stay away.

I told him I was calling the police, walked away and I took a picture of him. The guy ran at me, knocking me to the floor, kicked me in the leg, took my phone and threw it to the floor. He tried to break my phone, I told him to stop, I will delete your picture. He deleted the image and threatened me.

I called the police, and I filed a police report. I do not understand what is happening to our amazing island? It’s so creepy here, why don't the police do anything? Wherever you go, you smell marijuana? Why should our children have to suffer passive smoke from these drugs?

I have back pain, leg pain after he kicked me, and abrasions with blood in hand.

So sad but we all ok now.
I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal and Public Safety Director Jack McManus:
... what is being done to prevent marijuana smoking in outdoor public areas particularly where children are nearby?
 Image of Roosevelt Island Playground and West Promenade From Google Maps

Public Safety Director McManus replied:
We are aware of this incident and have taken steps to address it.

The safety and welfare of our children and their parents is paramount and is treated as such on a daily basis. Each day, at both arrival and dismissal times, we deploy a PSD supervisor and 4 to 5 PSD officers to ensure that the children and their parents arrive at and leave school in a safe and orderly manner. We ensure that the children cross safely by managing vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of the schools and, in addition, provide patrols by PSD officers in areas around the schools.

We have received complaints of marijuana smoking along the paths adjacent to the sea wall and have addressed these complaints with PSD patrols. I will increase patrols along the sea wall during both arrival and dismissal times and provide random patrols at other times.

Our patrols have resulted in both arrests and the issuance of Criminal Court Summonses and that enforcement will continue. Folks should call the Public Safety Department at 212-832-4545 to report any offenses that are observed, and PSD officers will respond and take corrective action which may include the arrest or summonsing of the offending individual.
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee discussed the issue of marijuana smoking in public next to schools during their January 3 meeting. RIRA Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feely-Nahem issued the following statement upon learning of yesterday's incident:
The reported violent assault on a women, accompanied by her child, in front of the playground near the  Roosevelt Day Nursery, after requesting that the alleged perpetrator refrain from smoking marijuana in front of the children, is completely unacceptable. The assailant should be held legally accountable.

The Public Safety Committee (PSC) is initiating a campaign in favor of no smoke areas where parents,with young children are present.

The following statement, which will be distributed throughout the community, was approved by the Public Safety Committee on January 3, 2017 as part of an educational campaign.
PSC Statement on Legalities of Marijuana

The RIRA Public Safety Committee (PSC) has received some complaints regarding the public smoking of marijuana in various locations, including near or around PS/IS 217 and other areas where parents with young children are present.

The smoking of marijuana in public places remains illegal. Violators are subject to summons and a time-consuming and potentially damaging expedition through the NYC Criminal Justice bureaucracy.

The PSC is sympathetic to parents who do not wish their children to be subjected to second-hand marijuana smoke in the areas cited above. We would like to ask the community to respect community members’ request that areas around children’s’ play area or schools remain smoke free.

The PSC, does not favor a "harsh crackdown" on individuals, often young adults, who might engage in this offense publically, due to misconceptions about the recent easing of the law, instead we wish to emphasize the following::

The PSC asks that voluntary self-restraint and consideration guide future behavior in regard to this issue.
Here's a portion of the January 3 RIRA Public Safety Committee

discussion on public marijuana smoking near schools.