Jewish World Review June 19, 2000 / 16 Sivan, 5760
overzealous this time
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- AFTER THE National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City last Sunday, hordes of marauding young men entered Central Park and began stripping women and groping their breasts and buttocks. Some women were stripped naked. The attacks occurred in broad daylight in a well-traveled area near Central Park South.
Chanting, "Soak her! Soak her!" the mob sprayed water on a honeymooning French tourist, pulled off her skirt and underpants, and yanked two gold chains from her neck. The woman's husband clawed his way through the throng and threw himself on top of her until the men moved on to their next target. The couple ran from the park and reported the attack to law enforcement officers who called for reinforcements.
In another attack, the men besieged a kick-boxing instructor on in-line skates, knocking her to the ground and trying to rip off her shorts. The kick-boxing instructor later said, "I never felt in my entire life that I couldn't protect myself until then." (When you need a gun, nothing else will do.)
At last count, there were 37 victims of the sexual assaults. Police have arrested eight men in the attacks.
Naturally, the victims are suing the city for failing to protect them, and The New York Times is recycling dark accusations that the police were negligent. It's a sensory overload to have The New York Times suggesting the police aren't being aggressive enough. Consequently, I've been lost in a reverie imagining what the Times' news story would be if the police had reacted with somewhat greater zeal.
I'm pretty sure it would go like this:
HEADLINE: Police in Central Park Shoot an Unarmed Man in a Melee BODY: An unarmed West Hempstead man with no criminal record was killed late yesterday by a New York City police officer who fired four shots at him at close range in Central Park, the police said.
It was unclear yesterday why the police officer had opened fire on the man at 6:35 p.m. in the southeast section of the park near Central Park South and the Avenue of the Americas. The man, Jose Smith , 23, of West Hempstead, N.Y., who had attended the Puerto Rican Day parade earlier in the day, died at the scene, the police said. Relatives and friends described Mr. Smith as a hardworking entrepreneur with a ready smile.
In another public relations disaster for the crisis-wracked Giuliani administration, the shooting grew out of a violent confrontation between police officers and members of New York's Hispanic community. The melee began when five baton-wielding police officers entered the park and set upon a group of exuberant parade revelers.
Police officials said officers patrolling the area near Central Park South were approached at 6:15 p.m. by a French couple on their honeymoon. The 28-year-old woman told the officers -- Continued on Page B14-- she had been accosted moments earlier by a group of men in the park.
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani urged people to withhold judgment on the case and defended the police. "These courageous police officers were attempting to subdue a mob of hoodlums who had attacked a woman in Central Park," he said.
But it was not clear yesterday whether the French couple had been attacked by the men or had merely misunderstood the revelers' intentions. Some witnesses to the incident suggested that the woman's husband attacked her, and blamed the fracas on the police. "This was another overreaction by Giuliani's racist Gestapo," one woman said.
Jane Doe, a kick-boxing instructor, who had been skating in the park at the time of the fray, said the police acted without provocation. "It was broad daylight in Central Park. I felt perfectly safe," Doe said. "To be a Hispanic man and go into Manhattan, you're walking around with a target on your back."
Ms. Doe said she planned to attend a rally organized by Rev. Jesse Jackson outside police headquarters at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
In unusually harsh language, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is running for the U.S. Senate, accused Mayor Giuliani last night of intentionally polarizing New York City by leading "a rush to judgment" over the disputed circumstances of Sunday's fatal police shooting of an unarmed Hispanic man. "Unfortunately," she said, "the mayor is willing to try, convict and execute a man simply for enjoying our great park after a parade."
The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Mary Jo White, said her office would open an
inquiry into the shooting. The Rev. Al Sharpton, lawyers for Mr. Smith's
family, and Bruce Springsteen have requested a meeting with Deputy Attorney
General Eric Holder, the Justice Department's second-ranking official.
The officer involved in the shooting has been put on administrative
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.
06/16/00: Evolution of the strumpet