Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bizarre and Disturbing Tales from Sunset Park

Domestic disputes are among the least favorite for police officers (and neighbors) because after the firestorm of adrenalin and aggression, they sometimes end up with denials from all concerned that anything serious was happening. Here's a story from this Friday morning that could have ended very badly. Let's hope that the end result is peace and a lesson learned for those involved.

At approximately 5:45 AM on Friday morning, a woman's screaming was heard coming from Sunset Park by residents who live on the 44th Street side of the park. A second woman's voice soon joined in screaming, "Leave her alone! Leave her alone! Somebody help!" 911 was called by several residents, and about a half a dozen people left their homes armed with bats (and one cane) to confront whoever the attacker was.

Thanks to the vandalized lamps along the walkways, very little could be seen by the responsible neighbors who arrived to the park at about the same time. From what they could gather, the dispute was between a woman and her ex-boyfriend (both seemed to be middle-aged); both were dressed professionally, and the other woman screamed at the approaching good Samaritans that he wasn't hurting the other woman, they were just arguing. It turns out that the screaming was about getting keys back from an ex-boyfriend.

The group of residents told the threesome off, and they pointed out that the man could have been seriously hurt (or worse!) because people thought that someone was being attacked and/or raped. That could have been one very bad ending to the situation. Another could have occured if the police had shown up (which they did, soon after) and seen a group of bat-wielding men surrounding a professional-looking group of three.

Thankfully, no-one was hurt, and hopefully the screaming women learned not to cry wolf. It would be especially depressing if a serious situation were not addressed due to cynicism from residents who have heard too many "play fights" from teens or screams from middle-aged women about keys.

Next time, change your locks and let him keep the keys.

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