Some NYPD officers have been accused of shooing away black teenagers from around Park Slope. Witness Sara Bennett talked about one such incident at a 78th Precinct meeting last night, according to DNAInfo. "I was really really upset and disturbed, not by the kids, but by the way the police were yelling at them to get out of the neighborhood," she said.
Bennett told them she saw a group of 5-6 teens, around 16 years old, who were walking in the neighborhood around Ninth Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, around 2:45 p.m. on September 22nd. Commanding Officer Captain Frank DiGiacomo said he hadn't heard of this particular incident, but confirmed that "his officers routinely try to move large groups of young people out of the neighborhood because clusters of teens have created problems recently at the Atlantic Center Mall."
Those recent problems might include tales of so-called "fight clubs" happening behind the Atlantic Terminal Mall—which are really nothing so organized, but rather just teens fighting, as teens sometimes do. "We've had have large fights…and things stemming over to Barclays Center and things stemming over to robberies and assaults," DiGiacomo said at the meeting. "When one or two are hanging out, it’s never a problem, but when we have large groups of kids together and we don't ask them to move or go somewhere else, they become a larger group, and that’s when we get assaults."
Bennett argued that the location where these particular teens were shooed was over a mile away from Barclays area, and that "it's just something that feels really disrespectful to the young black youth in the neighborhood."
DiGiacomo defended his officers, arguing that "most of the crimes that happen in our command are from outside people committing the crimes...if [teens] are not playing basketball, you’re not playing soccer, you’re not doing something productive in the neighborhood, I can see [officers] moving them."
So teens, make sure you're dribbling a basketball or kicked a soccer ball if you want to loiter around the Park Slope area. But don't be too loud—residents are very sensitive about that.