New York City, NY

Violent scenes in New York's Washington Square Park after cops imposed a new 10 pm curfew

Desiree Peralta

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Residents in the Washington Square Park area of Manhattan have complained to police about noise and an increase in drug usage, leading to the establishment of a weekend curfew.

When the prohibition went into effect at 10:00 p.m. Saturday, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested all the peple who were still in the park.

However, they refused to leave the public area and were forced by authorities, causing disruption in the operation and the imprisonment of at least 22 individuals, according to the police.

Police deployed pepper spray to disperse the gathering, with some individuals hurling bottles at policemen. After being seen on tape trying to square up to authorities with a metal barrier, a shirtless guy was detained.

After then, cops were seen employing physical force, such as shoving and grabbing. Some were videotaped shoving parkgoers who had formed a human chain with their bikes and batons. One cop was hit after a garbage can was thrown at them while another pulled a shoulder, according to the New York Post

Another cop is believed to have injured a finger, while two other cops were allegedly pelted with bottles.

'After cops shut down the Washington Square Park arresting multiple people who refused to disperse, they chased remaining crowd through West Village. People ran through restaurants and streets, cops chased and arrested them,' wrote video journalist ScooterCasterNY on Twitter.

Officers in riot gear were observed storming into the public space to demand those gathered there to leave, prompting accusations that the police were being excessively harsh.

'A lot of community residents have expressed concerns. Parks historically have had a closing time. This is an effort to make sure there is real respect for community concerns about noise and safety,' said Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier in the week.

The early curfew will remain in effect indefinitely, according to the NYPD and the Parks Department. ​

'That's ridiculous and it's summer time, too,' Omar Nurridin said. 'I don't think they're going to really do a good job of enforcing that, or it's a setup to give people a bunch of tickets.'

Crime in the 6th Precinct has increased by 62 percent in the previous year, and activities including drug use and prostitution have plagued the park, prompting it to close at 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, two hours earlier than the customary midnight closing.

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