8 Officers Confront Dad and 2 Kids

RIOC does it again - massive PSD response to soccer field liberation

Updated 2 weeks ago David Stone
An Island visitor with two children, confronted by massive PSD response to - not kidding - trespassing with soccer ball.
An Island visitor with two children, confronted by massive PSD response to - not kidding - trespassing with soccer ball.
Photo used by permission, courtesy of Tapan Parikh

Sure, the signs posted all around Octagon Field say, in small, red print, "No Trespassing." But the field's been liberated for informal soccer numerous times since RIOC's ham-handed closing last year. Does another harmless incursion really warrant eight Public Safety officers and a summons without any prior warning?

RIOC, the seemingly leaderless State agency run ultimately by Governor Andrew Cuomo, jangled local nerves by 1) ineptly trying to evict a Southpoint cat sanctuary by starving it of water; 2) destroying cherished, old growth trees without adequate reason or community input; 3) refusing to fess up to supplying contaminated water in park and playground fountains for decades; and 4) bumbling transportation management during Tram repairs, all in the last year, has topped itself.

Almost as if taking inspiration from Billy Buckner in Game Six (Look it up.) or maybe from watching too many Mack Sennett silents, RIOC on Sunday pounced on Roosevelt Islander Tapan Parikh with eight PSD officers.

Parikh, whose disgust with RIOC's mishandling of Octagon Field's closing and endlessly lagging repairs is well-known, was accompanied by two children.

That's right. RIOC decided that eight officers were needed to constrain two kids and an adult who was given a summons for trespassing. 

Good old days at Octagon Field, before RIOC's bungled closing.
Good old days at Octagon Field, before RIOC's bungled closing.
File photo, courtesy Roosevelt Island Youth Program

You might wonder what they'd do if confronted with real hazards - like gunning electric bikes along sidewalks, say, or the same bikes running stop signs in front of their headquarters...

Answer: Nothing.

It's documented.

But with Octagon Field, egos have expanded like thunderheads on a sweltering summer afternoon. On both sides of the issue.

Here's the thing, though - aren't our government officials and those given responsibility for public safety supposed to be the grownups in the room, the ones who keep their cool and remain detached from emotional overreactions? 

Dads dealing with frustrated kids have their hands full. Given RIOC's stubborn refusal to sympathize or even interact with the community on this issue, instead doing a "big me, little you" routine, an occasional soccer field liberation isn't so unexpected.

Pickup soccer games have been numerous on Octagon Field after the official closing.
Pickup soccer games have been numerous on Octagon Field after the official closing.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

But dispatching eight uniformed officers to confront a dad and two kids is simply ridiculous. Handing out a summons elevates stupidity into stratospheric realms.

Yet, as the photo and Parikh's Twitter feed show, that's what happened.

And here's a sweetener: the soccer field incursion was just a small part of "a walking tour to our friend about how unique this island is and how much despite of @RIOCny‘s nondemocratic operation we like it here."

It was more than a "huge setback." 

It was yet another Roosevelt Island embarrassment engineered by RIOC's nonresident management and labor force.

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