Charges dropped against chess players in NYC
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Chess players still not out of the woods in New York as police remain vigilent
A little while ago the story of a small group of mostly homeless men who were arrested and ticketed for playing chess in a park went around the world, I assume to show how strange the world is becoming. It turns out that adults could play chess at the park in question, but only if accompanied by a child (!), which was not the case.
Anyway, a NY judge has thrown the case out on a tecnicality! Apparently the wrong code was entered by one of the arresting officers…I am not sure if this is a good thing for NY chess players, however, as next time there might be some pay-back. Here is the New York Post story:
Judge tosses remaining charges
against chess players ticketed at Inwood Hill
BY MELISSA GRACE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The war on chess in city parks is not over, the NYPD said Tuesday after a judge tossed charges against two men ticketed for playing the strategic board game.
The victory by Yacahudah Harrison, who is homeless, and Christopher Peralta, came as civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel argued cops entered the wrong legal code when they ticketed the men.
“The summons was defective,” Seigel said of a case that drew howls of protest against overzealous cops. Charges against five other men busted with Harrison and Peralta were dismissed last week.
Police mistakenly issued the violations under a code that bars people from being in park when it’s closed – typically after dark.
“The park was open,” Siegel said of the 2 p.m. arrests. “Checkmated on a technicality,” said Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman.
Police brass conceded cops failed to enter the intended violation code, which bars adults from an area of the park reserved for children and their guardians.
The men did not have kids with them and were playing at chess tables located in a playground. Despite the snafu, the rule will be enforced in the future, Brown said.
“The Police Department will respond when, as happened in this case, violations of park rules and other conditions generate community complaints,” he said.
The local precinct’s “conditions team” was doing its job when it responded to complaints about drinking, drug use and violations of park rules intended to protect kids from predators, officials said. Browne said two of the seven men had arrest records.
“Had [the NYPD] not addressed the condition, no doubt they would have been damned for leaving the men in the children’s section,” Browne said.