The New York Post | June15, 2000
FRUSTRATED COPS say the Central Park mayhem shows they're caught in a Catch-22 every day - damned if they do and damned if they don't take action.
"Last week we were criticized for being the most aggressive police force. Now we're being criticized for being the most passive," one Manhattan cop vented.
Another said "we get beat down for action we take and for action we don't take. That's not very fair."
A 15-year veteran added: "It's a witch hunt. It's the same old story. Whenever something goes wrong, always blame the cops."
Police are under fire on two levels - for failing to stop the mass attacks on women after the Puerto Rican Day Parade and for rebuffing victims who tried to report the incident.
The way parades are staffed is a prescription for disaster, officers said, pointing out that cops are deployed without radios and told to take a hands-off approach to revelers.
The accusations boggled the mind of one officer who was on parade duty.
"I can't believe that any cops witnessed a woman getting attacked or even looked the other way when a woman came over after she said she was attacked," he said.
Another cop, patrolling the outskirts of the park, said: "I just can't believe an officer would ignore a cry for help. If that happened, he should be punished severely."
Some cops were genuinely embarrassed that some of their colleagues may have misjudged and mishandled the chaos.
© 2000 by the New York Post