Saturday 14 August 2021

Woman arrested and handcuffed for walking dogs off the leash in a NYC park

NEW YORK CITY - NEWS AND COMMENT: Ms Marchand was walking her dogs off the lead in Riverside Park, situated in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Under the law she was required to have her dogs on a lead. She was stopped by a couple of park officers who decided to arrest her, place in handcuffs and take to the local NYPD station where they placed her in a cell. She said: "This is not fascist Germany; we don't arrest people for like not having dogs on the leash."

Woman arrested and handcuffed the walking dogs off the leash in a NYC park
Woman arrested and handcuffed the walking dogs off the leash in a NYC park. Screenshot from video made by a spectator.

She was fined $200 for non-compliance and $100 for walking the dogs off the leash. The police say that they had to take her to the police station because she could not produce identification and could not remember her address because she had recently moved to New York City.

A witness videoed the incident and said that it was "so unnecessary". Richard Baron Penman added: "It was disturbing how they treated her like a dangerous criminal pulling her around by the handcuffs."

He said that Ms Marchand had been cooperative and calm and he believed that the officers were acting aggressively and "went overboard trying to show their authority."

Ms Marchand is an IT professional. It was worse than that because apparently more officers showed up with cages and shock sticks to capture the dogs and put them in cages and take them to a pound. Fortunately, Ms Marchand was able to telephone her boyfriend on a borrowed cell phone who came around and collected the dogs.

Her shoes were removed and the "string from her pants" were taken by the police. I believe that this is the belt around her jogging pants. This is America and they use the word "pants" to mean trousers in the English language. Why did they remove the string? To protect her from self-harm?

Apparently, NYPD officers made fun of the park officers because they also believe that the park officers had overreacted. A park officers spokesperson said that Ms Marchand had been warned in the past. Ms Marchand said that she had not encountered police in the park before.

Comment: my gut feel is that this was an overreaction from an officious police officer who wanted to use his authority. As Ms Marchand said there are far more important things for the police to deal with. She should have been warned about her breach of the law. She should have been told that if she did it again, she would be charged and fined. There would be no need to arrest her under any circumstances. They could have found a way around the fact that she could not produce an ID and address. They could have phoned up her boyfriend for example and talk to him about it. He could have verified her identity and bona fides.

This is a bad look for the police at a time when they need to raise their profile and give the impression (at least) that they serve the community.

P.S. I know this is about dogs but what the heck! It is about companion animals and an important topic both in the US and the UK: the role of the police and whether they serve the community or believe thatt they are the masters.

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