Parks officer's arrest of teen in Battery Park sparks debate over street vendor regulations, enforcement

The viral video captures the Parks officer attempting to arrest the young girl, who was allegedly selling fruit from an unlicensed cart with her mother.

Edric Robinson

Jun 4, 2024, 10:22 PM

Updated 11 days ago

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The city is facing criticism after a video posted on social media showed a New York City parks officer trying to arrest a 14-year-old girl in Battery Park.
The incident, which occurred on around 2 p.m. Sunday, has ignited a heated debate over street vendor regulations and enforcement practices.
The video posted on the X platform by @Marcrebillet has gone viral. It captures the Parks officer attempting to arrest the young girl, who was allegedly selling fruit from an unlicensed cart with her mother. Bystanders can be seen and heard yelling at the officers, with some even stepping in to help the girl break free.
Officials from the Parks Department have stated that an investigation is ongoing to ensure all protocols were followed. The officer involved has been placed on administrative duty during this process. A 32-year-old female was arrested and received a desk appearance ticket. The 14-year-old received a juvenile report.
The NYC Street Vendor Justice Coalition, a group representing small businesses and advocates, has condemned the aggressive approach taken by the officers. In a statement, the coalition said, “We are appalled by the aggression towards a street vendor family and their young daughter. The city must not criminalize street vendors for trying to earn a living.”
The coalition also pointed out the difficulty in obtaining vendor permits, citing that over 20,000 New Yorkers are on waitlists for these permits.
On Tuesday Mayor Eric Adams addressed the issue, acknowledging the challenge of managing illegal activity despite efforts to provide more permits.
“I personally don't believe, no matter how many permits we put out, there's still going to be some illegal activity and we have to make sure we address that illegal activity,” Adams said.
The mayor’s team highlighted new initiatives aimed at easing their entry into the marketplace. Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi elaborated on these efforts, stating, “We've set up a regulated vendor market in Corona Plaza, and that has been in a pilot existence now for a few months, and it's working well. It's what I call a sort of vending light, and it allows people to enter into the marketplace of vending without going through what can be an arduous process of getting a specific individual vendor license. With this model, we can go to other plazas in the city and set up similar markets to really provide opportunities for people to get into vending.”
The Parks Department continues its investigation, while the Street Vendor Justice Coalition is urging the City Council to pass a Street Vendor Reform Legislative Package. They believe this package would cut through the existing bureaucratic red tape and support the city's smallest businesses.


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