New York police officers arrested 23 people while enforcing a curfew in Washington Square Park on Saturday night, multiple news outlets reported.
Eight officers were injured during clashes with individuals violating the 10 p.m. curfew, CBS New York reported. Most of the people who were arrested were charged with disorderly conduct and received desk appearance tickets, an NYPD spokesperson told The Associated Press (AP).
Mass clashes broke out between police and people at an unlawful assembly at Washington Square Park in NYC. pic.twitter.com/sIusBP3Aap
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 6, 2021
Police and the Parks Department introduced the curfew following complaints of public nudity, drug use, and jumping on cars. “The trash in the mornings has become really obscene and it’s not really a place for children, let alone adults,” New York City resident Marisa Rose told Spectrum News 1. “The park has turned into a nightmare for those of us with kids. There’s constant drugs, constant nudity.”
“Enforced closures are focused on addressing large after hours gatherings, amplified sound, excessive trashing of the park and other conditions on weekends,” Parks Department spokeswoman Crystal Howard told The AP. (RELATED: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Rips ‘Arrogant,’ ‘Disrespectful’ New Yorkers Hanging Out In Parks During Coronavirus Outbreak)
Young people often frequent Washington Square Park, since it is at the center of many of New York University’s academic buildings. However, multiple encounters with public safety officials in the last year have turned violent, with people “throwing objects such as bottles and other objects at police and in one instance throwing unknown objects at responding FDNY and EMT vehicles which were responding to a building fire,” NBC New York reported.
Cities across the U.S. have struggled with late-night crime in public places. Riots and protests have cost the Portland Police Department over $12 million in the last year. Looters in Philadelphia have frequently overrun businesses, as the city’s undermanned police department has been unable to stop property crimes.