Men Cited For Engaging In Battlefield Simulations Near Childrens’ Playgroundby Brad Warbiany
First it’s chess. Then Sun Tzu. Eventually you have a militia on your hands overthrowing the government. That’s how these things progress, right?
A group of seven mild-mannered chess players are due in criminal court next month after police officers from the 34th Precinct issued them summonses for playing their favorite board game in Inwood Hill Park.
The men were ticketed on Oct. 20 for being inside of Emerson Playground, a children’s play area off limits to adults unaccompanied by minors. But the men were in an area furnished with stone chess and backgammon tables — separated from the play area by a fence.
“There is a problem in this area with drug dealing, but the police have time to write tickets to people playing chess?” asked Yacahudah Harrison, 48, one of the men who received a summons for “Fail[ing] to comply with signs.”
“Under my direction, uniformed officers routinely enter the parks to enforce closing times and other regulations; all designed to protect the community,” he wrote in an e-mail.
“The NYPD allows for officers to issue summonses in lieu of effecting an arrest for appropriate offenses.”
But Inwood residents expressed outrage that the NYPD would target the chess players in light of the men’s history as caretakers and teachers for the next generation of Inwood chess players.
“This is a positive thing for our kids to see and do, it’s a positive mental activity for them,” said Regina Christoforatos, 38, whose 6-year-old daughter Zoe has been learning chess in the park.
The police captain claims that this is to protect the community.
What community needs to be protected from games of chess played in the park?
Hat Tip: Free Range Kids