An artist who sells his work on the High Line says he was beaten in the face with a walkie-talkie by a park employee last Friday night. Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, has an exclusive report on the strange and shocking incident, which left artist Iddi Amadu, 52, lying on his back a gash on his lip that required ten stitches. According to Amadu, High Line maintenance worker Kenya Robinson, 32, bashed him twice in the face without provocation:
Iddi Amadu, an "expressive matter" vendor, says he was packed up and waiting for the elevator to leave the elevated esplanade park at 16th Street when the alleged assault occurred. "I heard some guy yelling behind me as I approached the elevator," recalled Amadu... He was screaming, 'I'm talking to you. You have to listen to me when I talk to you. You're not listening, man. I told you to stop,'" Amadu said.
A "very emotional" Robinson told him not to leave until park patrons were off the High Line. Amadu said he was the only person in the vicinity. "He said there was a woman with a stroller. I looked around, and there was no one. He was just trying to harass me. 'I don't have to listen to you,' I said." According to Amadu, the High Line employee stood in front of the elevator and blocked him from leaving.
"I said, 'Please, please, I have to go.' He pushed my cart over. I said, 'Please don't touch my painting, my property. My art is still wet. Stay away.'" Amadu said he put his arm up to block Robinson from knocking over the cart again, but Robinson grabbed his arm. "I said, 'Don't touch me, you have no right to touch me.' The next thing I knew he hit me with his walkie-talkie — bam, bam. He hit me twice, once in the mouth and once on the side of my face."
Read the entire disturbing account here—according to witnesses an NYPD officer who was called to the scene kicked Amadu as he was lying on the ground bleeding and waiting for a stretcher. Amadu says the officer told him, "Wake up, go home. Get up, go home. Be a man, you had a fight and you lost." Amadu, bleeding from the mouth with a swollen face, was handcuffed for several hours in the ambulance and at the hospital. "They were trying to cover it up so I wouldn't file a lawsuit, like I did something wrong," Amadu explains.
Robinson was ultimately arrested and charged with assault, A Walk in the Park reports. (The NYPD press office
could not immediately confirm the arrest or provide details now confirms Robinson was charged with assault in the third degree.) We asked the High Line's publicist about the incident, and we'll update if we hear back. But Friends of the High Line issued this statement saying, "We take matters such as these very seriously. This matter is under review."