How Two Incidents in One Day Show Why RIOC Must Change Now

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RIOC must change now. We’ve said it before, and a fresh pair of incidents prove why. But will Governor do something or leave the inept patroon in place at 591 Main?

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

Two Incidents But Just One Lousy Operation

Yesterday, March 30th, two incidents reminded us of how incompetent, uncaring and simply detached from community life RIOC is. And those come on the heels of a long series of incidents, some inept, some dangerous, taking place over the last year.

One, probably the most appalling, occurred on Friday but wasn’t publicly known until a report in the Roosevelt Islander yesterday. We’ll save that for last.

But first, Public Safety’s second failure at protecting public safety…

During Passover, with kids out of school, Jewish families flock to Roosevelt Island, escaping the confines of their neighborhoods for fresh air. It brings pressure on local facilities, and especially in these difficult times.

A Facebook thread reported “dangerous and unsafe conditions” at the 2nd Avenue Tram Station. “…and public safety is not controlling this.”

Conditions around 6:00 p.m. as posted on Facebook.

A resident emailed RIOC president/CEO Shelton Haynes and PSD chief Kevin Brown.

“At Blackwell playground, around 4:30ish today there were about 75 people inside and around the playground with NO FACE MASKS covering their mouth and nose. NONE AT ALL.

“The tram is another story, the same as this one, as all those people at the tram are going straight to the playgrounds with absolutely NO MASKS ON!”

“PSD never arrived,” she added.

According to the Facebook thread, the visitors removed their masks once they arrived on Roosevelt Island, then headed straight for the playgrounds.

“It was reported to PSD, and they said they couldn’t do anything at all.”

Yes, RIOC must change now, but will they?

Haynes was shown on the Facebook thread as “Active,” but there is no record of his responding.

RIOC Must Change Now Before It Gets Worse: A Cruel Refusal To Help a Distressed Senior… Or To Take Any Responsibility

Late yesterday, the Roosevelt Islander blog reported one of the worst incidents of RIOC misconduct in memory.

The editor allowed the victim, ML, to tell her story firsthand.

“On Friday afternoon,” she wrote, “you might have seen a patrol car and two ambulances trailing a senior as she struggled to walk home. That was me. Instead of giving me water or a ride, they watched me as I shuffled home in agony over the course of an hour, apparently waiting for me to collapse from exhaustion before they would do anything to help.”

ML blames PSD chief Kevin Brown and asks that he step down. But perhaps it should go further. For years before taking his current position, RIOC president/CEO Shelton Haynes oversaw PSD operations.

We’ve shown that PSD bumbled even the handling of bicycle safety, during that period, but this shows they are capable of much worse.

Telling her story, ML explains the painful saga of asking a PSD officer directly for help and being refused. The officer, she says, declined her request for a badly needed drink of water as he followed her for 45 minutes.

A fair-minded reporter, the Roosevelt Islander asked both Haynes and Brown if they had “any response.”

RIOC in Bunker Mode

In traditional style, both hunkered down virtually behind RIOC’s alleged public information officer:

“Our Public Safety Department (PSD) adheres to COVID-19 protocols in order to keep the community safe. As a part of these protocols, it is not advisable for individuals – particularly the elderly – to be in close quarters with essential front-line workers such as PSD officers. 

“Also according to the protocols, our officer called an ambulance, which is equipped to safely aid all individuals. The purpose of our officer following the individual was to ensure their safety until EMS arrived. However, this individual refused the aid that was offered to them.”

Apparently, the deep thinkers at RIOC concluded that letting a desperate senior struggle for around an hour “to ensure their safety” made the most sense.

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