NEW YORK (Reuters) – After a spate of arrests and bad publicity, the costumed characters who pose for tourist photographs in New York’s Times Square in the hopes of a cash tip have formed an association to preserve a livelihood that has come under increasing scrutiny.
Dozens of people dressed as Spider-Man, Batman, Elmo, Mickey Mouse and other children’s favorites, roam the crowded sidewalks and pedestrian plazas around Times Square each day, beckoning toward passing kids and their camera-toting parents.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York police have begun handing out fliers to tourists in Times Square telling them that tipping the costumed superheroes and children’s characters who pose for photographs is optional, and to call the 911 emergency number if they have complaints.
The fliers are part of an aggressive crackdown after a string of arrests of people dressed as characters who have gotten into confrontations with tourists or police, including one dressed as Spider-Man charged last month with punching a police officer who intervened in a tipping dispute.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A march to protest the death of a New York City man in police custody will go ahead later this month on Staten Island, organizers said, although plans to walk over the bridge linking the island to the rest of the city have been scrapped.
Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist behind the march, said on Saturday that protesters would drive in a caravan of cars and buses from Brooklyn to the point where Eric Garner, 43, died last month while being arrested by police.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge has ordered Faberge, a Brooklyn restaurant and banquet hall, to come up with a new name by the end of August after Fabergé, the luxury jewelry company favored by the tsars of Russia, successfully sued for breach of copyright.
Faberge, the restaurant, opened last fall in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay, a neighborhood with a large Russian immigrant population.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York coroner’s ruling that a police choke hold caused the death of a Staten Island man was politically motivated, the head of one of the city’s police unions said on Tuesday, denying that officers used the outlawed form of restraint to subdue the suspect.
“This was not a choke hold,” Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said at a press conference, referring to a July 17 incident in which Eric Garner, who was accused of selling illegal cigarettes, died in a scuffle with police.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s Department of Correction routinely violates the constitutional rights of male teenagers at the Rikers Island jail complex by tolerating a “culture of violence” that permits the savage beating of young inmates, according to a federal report released on Monday.
The 79-page report, prepared by the U.S. Justice Department, describes a fearful and brutalized environment in which correction officers regularly batter young men, sometimes after they are handcuffed and dragged out of sight of surveillance cameras. The excessive use of force goes well beyond what is needed to control the inmates, it said.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday a multi-year investigation of New York City’s Rikers Island jail has found a pattern of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent male inmates.
The findings, which focused on the use of force by jail guards, solitary confinement and violence at the city’s largest detention facility, recommended that New York begin housing teenage inmates elsewhere.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The death of a man during an arrest last month in the New York City borough of Staten Island was caused by a choke hold used on him by a police officer, the chief medical examiner’s office said on Friday, declaring the death a homicide.
Eric Garner, who was arrested by police on July 17 for peddling untaxed cigarettes, died as result of compression to his neck, compression to his chest and “prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” according to autopsy results.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former President Bill Clinton said he “could have killed” Osama bin Laden in remarks to an audience in Australia the day before al Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on the United States, according to an audio tape that emerged this week.
Clinton and officials from his administration have expressed similar sentiments both before and after the Sept. 11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people but the recording appears to have attracted attention because he was speaking less than 36 hours before al Qaeda hijackers would board four airliners for attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York’s Metropolitan Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout at the nation’s largest performing arts organization, the Met said late on Thursday.
The Met Opera also said that it had reached new contract agreements with three of the 15 involved labor unions. The three unions, whose contracts were to expire at midnight, represent building engineers and various opera staff such as ticket takers, ushers and security guards.