Posted to Op-Ed on

The Cops Turned a Blind Eye, Except for One Brave One

A neighborhood resident wrote to about an incident he witnessed in the aftermath of yesterday’s Labor Day Parade in Crown Heights.

by CJ Rosen

This evening I witnessed first hand how the inability to lead, can literally lead to paralysis and maybe even death!

Walking home from Maariv, my son and I observed the massive gridlock that always ensues after every labor day parade. You know the scene. Bumper to bumper traffic throughout our neighborhood comprising all the guests who spent a long day celebrating labor day, now trying to get back home. As we approached the heavily armed and barricaded intersection of Kingston and Union (the NYPD were not allowing cars to proceed towards Eastern Parkway in order to facilitate the Sanitation cleanup on the Parkway) an ambulance sounded its glaring siren as it attempted to make its way thru the gridlock.

We estimated that the ambulance was but a few car lengths from the intersection, which was closed and diverting all traffic (which was at a standstill) on to Union Street. About 10 NYPD officers stood by passively as the ambulance amplified its sirens. First, the familiar alarm like trill, then a faster beat and finally a “Fog horn” or “Ship horn” sound. All the while, the officers standing guard at the barricade on Kingston Ave, appeared disinterested in the wailing noise the ambulance was emitting. After about 2 minutes of this, I approached the only officer wearing a white shirt who was in the middle of the group, looked at his name tag which read “Officer Pullzzaro” and asked “Officer, are you in charge here”? He abruptly said “No” and looked away. I could have walked away, but I was concerned. So, I attempted to engage Officer Pullzzaro and asked “Please open the barricade to allow 3 cars to go thru so the ambulance could pass”. He replied “No”. I continued to engage him and said, “This might be a case of life and death. You have an ambulance blaring its siren and you have the power to allow it to pass. Please do so”. I can only assume that Officer Pullzzaro froze and was unable to step up to the plate and make the right call. Perhaps he was afraid of breaching protocol, and allowing a few cars to park on the side. However, what concerned me was this officers insensitivity and inability to show empathy especially when approached and asked to facilitate a blaring ambulance’s passage. The situation began to get heated. A few people started shouting at poor Officer Pullzzaro”. Yet he remained, calm and cool. It appeared that he was unfazed by the ambulance, motorists honking and now what seemed to be an angry mob of Lubavitcher men yelling something like: “Officer Pullzzaro tear down that barricade”.  As the crowd began to “swell”, another officer (with a white shirt) briskly walked up to intersection. I regret that I missed his name. I asked him “Officer, could you please open this barricade to let the ambulance thru”. With a warm smile, he said “Yes”, and directed Pullzzaro et all to let it thru. He was the polar opposite of Officer Pullzzaro. As soon as he spoke the others sprung into action and briskly opened the barricade and began waving cars out of the way.

In my very limited interaction with the NYPD this evening, I learned two things. First, its important to stand up for what you believe in, even if that means speaking directly to a police officer who is unwilling to act. As long as you are respectful, its ok to be direct and engaging. Second, for every disinterested, uncaring, unable to lead officer, there is one that exudes kindness, professionalism and the ability to lead and take charge during a crisis.


  • 1. yankel wrote:

    Why was Eastern Parkway and the cross streets not opened until 9:30 when the parade and cleaning was done by 7:00 ?

  • 2. mendoza wrote:

    what a terrible story with a nice ending , i hope the person in the ambulance was not affected,
    and i hope yingy gets to the bottom of this story

  • 3. Backseat Driver wrote:

    It’s like when you’re on the subway, and the train stops in the tunnel. You knock on the conductor’s window and ask him to please let the train keep moving. You ask a few times and the train doesn’t move. Someone else asks the conductor if he will please let the train keep moving. He smiles, and the train starts to go. The lesson? The train would have kept moving regardless of people bothering the conductor. Leave them alone and let them do their job.

    • 5. I can't believe you wrote that! wrote:

      If it would have been your mother CV”S….
      And it’s not the same. When a train is stuck, you can’t just have the other trains pull to the side.
      This was a LIFE vs a garbage truck. Stop the truck, and let the ambulance through.

  • 6. the ratio in NYPD is 1/10 wrote:

    only one in ten cares a drop… partially bc we are also not regarding them with respect… so its a vicious (or witches) cycle….

  • 7. The Blind leading the Blind! wrote:

    Both will fall into a ditch….We just have to look to ww2 to know this is true. Being a good samaritan is few and far between these days…Almost everyone looks the other way. Tsk tsk tsk. When will people ever learn?

  • 9. DeClasse' Intellectual wrote:

    Do not forget trying to go home and your stop is Utica and Eastern Parkway; you cannot even use the elevator when needed
    the basic issue the demands of the parade are beyond the physical capabilities of the area. hence, another reason the parade must be moved besides all the violence and mess it creates.

  • 10. police always look away!!! wrote:

    police r scared of being killed !!!! or jailed or fired for doing the right thing!!! like when someone comes at them to kill them and they shoot first!!!! then u have the evil Al Sharpton inciting riots and hatred! i can go on …………

  • 11. Picaboo Shimon wrote:

    I saw so many awful things at parade. On nostrand and eastern pkwy paraders were openly using drugs, drinking beer, going to bathroom within 5 feet of groups of cops who did nothing. I asked a cop and he said jokingly that as long as they aren’t shooting each other, he is not going to bother them lest he is accused of being racist and interrupting a family parade. The other cops nodded in agreement.

    At the end of the day, I was biking with my daughter on Winthrop near Schenectady and we saw 100 cop cars race toward utica. Curious what happened we biked over. There were people, some in vans some with tables selling watermelon and coconuts. The cops told them the parade is over they have to leave. The guy said he will leave but he needs a few minutes to pack his table and the cop said no leave right now. The guy didn’t listen and started packing his fruits in a box and two dozen cops jumped on him, beat him up and arrested him.

    Then any bystander who verbally protested or tried to take video of the cops got pushed roughly and five bystanders got arrested for not moving back fast enough. The cops told me and my daughter to move back and cross the street. We immediately obeyed but continued watching from across the street.Then 50 more cops come from other direction and start shoving us back. A cop grabbed my daughter’s bike and threw it in the street. I yelled what’s wrong with you.she is only 13 years old. Which of course made a group of cops take out their batons and menace us.

    Thankfully we weren’t injured.

    The moral of the story. If you do illegal stuff at the parade the cops turn a blind eye. If the cops catch you watching them then all hell breaks loose.

  • 12. Very Simple wrote:

    One Officer was a Lazy Jerk , The other Officer takes his PROFESSION Seriously a Mentch

  • 13. Mother, grandmother, human person. wrote:

    I assume the writer is white. Remember what happened to the black psychologist speaking politely to police as he tried to persuade a patient back into the clinic. They shot him. Speaking politely to US police is a good idea- but still dangerous if being polite whilst black.

  • 14. Where is our CHCC?? wrote:

    Every Parade is in Manhattan where the streets are wide enough for gigantic floats and there numerous police to tame the people,
    Please, Crown Heights, we want our shchuna back!!
    it’s unfair that we have to flee town to stay safe and sane!


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