Liz Crotty slams de Blasio for Washington Square Park unrest

Manhattan DA candidate Liz Crotty laid the blame for Washington Square Park spiraling out of control on Mayor Bill de Blasio, ripping him for setting “a tone” and “not helping the police do their job.”

“He said he didn’t see a problem with what was going on in the park and trying to undercut it,” Crotty said during a press conference at the Greenwich Village park Thursday.

“And as a constituent who happens to be a candidate, he’s wrong,” Crotty said. “I see it on a daily basis.”

“I don’t think it’s the police,” she added. “I think it’s the leadership. It’s the mayor of New York City who set a tone. He’s not helping the police do their job.”

She said she walks her dog in the park regularly and is distressed by the unrest there.

Massive raves at the historic park in recent weeks have riled local merchants and residents, with the chaotic gatherings frequently turning violent.

Liz Crotty said De Blasio "didn't see a problem with what was going on" in Washington Square Park.
Liz Crotty said de Blasio “didn’t see a problem with what was going on” in Washington Square Park.
Lev Radin/Sipa via AP Images

Last weekend, two people were stabbed, another was robbed, and a cook at a local diner was thrown through a plate-glass window.

Police were on hand to enforce a 10 p.m. curfew set earlier this month — causing clashes to erupt between them and parkgoers.

Last weekend, the curfew was pushed back to midnight, and partiers were free to remain in the park until as late as 2:30 a.m.

People hanging out in Washington Square park in the West Villiage of Manhattan on the day that many remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
People hanging out in Washington Square park in the West Villiage on the day that many remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
William Miller

Crotty said cops need to be at the park daily — but so do city mental health workers.

“We need to be ahead of it so everyone feels safe,” she said. “Washington Square Park is emblematic of the rest of New York City and the rest of New York City, in every neighborhood, people are not feeling safe.”

Crotty, a former prosecutor and civil attorney, is part of the crowded field to replace outgoing Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.

NYPD officers patrol Washington Square Park.
NYPD officers patrol Washington Square Park.
William Miller

At her press conference Thursday, she was endorsed by several law enforcement unions, including the NYPD captains, lieutenants and sergeants benevolent associations, as well as the Detectives’ Endowment Association.

“Politicians messed this up — not the police,” DEA president Paul DiGiacomo said. “It’s the politicians, the mayor’s office and the governor’s office, they tell us what to do.”

“We just follow orders,” he said. “If you have questions regarding the way we’re policing, ask them.”

People hanging out after-hours in Washington Square Park in New York, NY on June 13, 2021.
People hanging out after hours in Washington Square Park in Manhattan on June 13, 2021.
Christopher Sadowski

In a comment Thursday, City Hall press secretary Bill Neidhardt said Crotty’s beef shouldn’t be with the mayor’s office.

“The NYPD has made the decisions on this,” he said. “So, she’s disagreeing with the NYPD.”

Cops have repeatedly said that decisions on how to deal with the unrest and curfews at the park are made in conjunction with the city Parks Department.

Police talk to two people at night in Washington Square Park.
Police talk to two people at night in Washington Square Park.
William Miller

In an email Thursday, the Parks Department said that “at this time,” the curfew at the park this weekend will be the normal midnight curfew.

Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks

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