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Chinatown Residents Sue NYPD
By World Journal
April 25, 2003

A coalition representing residents in Chinatown and the nearby residential buildings filed a law suit in the New York State Court of Appeals yesterday against the Police Headquarters for closing Park Row without an environmental evaluation and permission from local residents. They claimed the street closing has tremendously affected the public safety and businesses in the neighborhood.
The coalition said the police have been avoiding the issue. Although the police have contacted City

Councilman Alan Gerson, who represents Chinatown, to discuss Park Row and other side streets that are closed, they have refused to have a direct dialogue with the residents.
Meanwhile, the police continue to harass the residents in the nearby buildings by checking on every car that leaves the building, the coalition said, adding that it is unreasonable and undemocratic for the police to close the streets without consulting them. The check-up, they said, is just their way to harass the residents.

Jack Lester, a lawyer representing the coalition, said they had filed a lawsuit yesterday. The street closing prevents ambulances from coming through and it would be dangerous in the event of an emergency, he said. It also had a devastating effect on the local businesses and blocks Chinatown from being included in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center.

The coalition said that the businesses in Lower Manhattan are still suffering from the street closing after 9/11. They called on the court to order the reopening of the streets until further discussion between the police and the community. Meanwhile, the coalition also demanded that the police reopen Madison Park in the neighborhood, which has been occupied by the police as a parking lot.
Gerson also expressed opposition to the street closing, saying that the police had no respect for local residents and that it was a huge mistake to close the street without consulting the community.

Meanwhile, the coalition is also working with residents in Brooklyn Heights, who started a campaign to oppose the relocation of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to their community. The police plan to close the streets in the neighborhood upon the relocation.
New York City spokesman Edward Skyler and the police both declined to comment.

Translated from Chines by Larry Tung.

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