Peter Shankman is a CEO, TEDx speaker, NASA advisor, and HARO founder, amongst other things. He can now add one more accolade to his resume: being the jogger who was ticketed for running too early in the morning in Central Park.
Shankman was with his running partner in Central Park at 4:30 a.m. training for an upcoming triathlon when a police officer cited him.
According to the NYPD officer, “the people’s park” does not open until 6am.
"Most people who've gotten in touch think it's a bogus charge, and have mentioned end of the month quotas as a reason I didn't just get a warning," Shankman told Gothamist.
Shankman gave an account of what happened on his Facebook page:
At 4:30 this morning in Central Park, at mile 2 of my ten mile run, I was stopped by the police and given a summons for exercising in the park "before it opened." Apparently, Central Park doesn't "open" until 6am, and my exercising (running) in the park before 6am is illegal. Note - Running in the park. Not "performing sex acts for crack," or "laying down explosive charges," but "running." Because apparently, a 215 pound man running through Central Park at just over a 9:10 pace is a threat to Manhattan.
To answer the question of why I was running so early - I needed to do ten miles today as part of Ironman training. If I didn't start that early, I wouldn't be done before my first meeting of the day.
A "hey, buddy, the park doesn't open until six, you need to run on the sidewalk outside" from the police officer wouldn't have sufficed? Apparently not, since he made it clear that his boss was in the car with him, so he had to write me up.
I now get to go to court in May and fight this. What a waste of taxpayer money, and my time. Ridiculous.
Shankman claims he saw no signs or warnings at 63rd Street and Central Park West where he entered the park, reports the Daily Mail.
“The last 12 years have really been about getting the city healthy, you know,” Shankman said to Pix 11. "No smoking in bars, no trans fats, and here I was, I was running, I was exercising, trying to lose a few more pounds before this race. Thank god I wasn’t holding a BIG Gulp.”
Shankman faces a fine of up to $1,000 and must appear in court in May.
Distraught New York veterinarian Dr. Shirley Koshi took her life on Feb. 16, following a lengthy civil lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by self-deemed cat rescuer Gwen Jurmark, was over a cat Koshi rescued in Wallenberg Park in August 2013.
While walking through Wallenberg Park, two women saw Karl, a sickly black and white cat. The women took the cat into Koshi's clinic. Karl had a urinary tract infection and was given a 10-day course of antibiotics.
Weeks after Karl was rescued, Jurmark came forward and claimed the cat was hers.
“Ms. Gwen Jurmark appeared on the scene weeks after the cat improved saying this was her cat that she ‘keeps’ along with many others at Wallenberg Park,” Koshi said in court papers. “Gwen Jurmark rescues cats … then drops them off in parks instead of finding homes for them.”
Koshi did not want to relinquish control of Karl only to see him back in the park. But as the lawsuit proceeded, Jurmark went public with her side of the story. Jurmark's supporters posted negative things online about Koshi and her Gentle Hands Clinic. Jurmark reportedly staged an event outside of the clinic in which dozens of protestors joined her in protesting outside of Gentle Hands.
The negative publicity Koshi and Gentle Hands received from the case drove her business into the ground. The clinic's income plummeted. Koshi was forced to use her own income to keep the business afloat. Then, a flood last month ruined much of the clinic. It all proved too much for Koshi to handle. She took her life last week.
“She was being harassed and vilified by various individuals, including the person who filed the complaint,” Koshi’s lawyer, John Sarcone, said.
“Besides financial problems, the lawsuit drove her over the edge,” former Gentle Hands employee Will Page added.
Police ruled her death a suicide by apparent overdose.
In a startling bit of irony, New Orleans both passes out free condoms to sex workers to promote public health and also arrest people who have them as prostitutes. According to a recent report from Human Rights Watch, the fight against HIV and AIDS in Louisiana is being lost because of inconsistent policies regarding sex work and harshly consistent policies regarding illegal drug abuse. New Orleans has the third-highest instance of HIV and AIDS infection in the U.S.
In Louisiana, non-medical syringes are illegal and most efforts for needle-exchange are criminalized and driven underground, which contributes to this problem. However, New Orleans has free condom distribution that is explicitly meant to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Yet, according to Reason, “condom crackdowns, along with vague loitering laws” are used to arrest anyone on the grounds of suspicion of prostitution.
New Orleans isn’t the only city doing this, however. Condom-profiling has been reported in many cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York. A report from VICE tells the story of nurse and grandmother Monica Gonzalez, who was arrested on the way to the hospital while suffering an asthma attack. Later, charges were dropped because Monica hadn’t even had a condom in her possession.
The New York state legislature has a bill, versions of which have been stuck in committee for years, which addresses this very issue. The law would ban condoms as evidence for a variety of prostitution charges, including “maintaining a bawdy house.” As of January 8, 2104, the bill officially “died” in the Senate.
As it stands, this practice has caused many sex workers to forgo condoms altogether. Also shocking is how this policy leads to harassment of women wearing a certain style of clothing and the transgendered. With Piers Morgan and trans activist Janet Mock in the news for a petulant tiff over terminology, this sort of trans harassment is being ignored.
A New York woman and her two young children were stabbed to death last month.
Guatemalan immigrant and Queens resident, Deisy Garcia, 21, filed a domestic-abuse report on May 30, 2013, saying she was afraid that her husband would kill her.
According to TheBlaze, the report, which was in Spanish, was never translated into English.
New York City Police also responded to two reports filed by Garcia, at least one of them in Spanish, regarding her husband’s violence and threats last November, but no arrests were made.
Garcia and her daughters, Daniela, 2, and Yoselin, 1, were found dead in their apartment on Jan. 17, allegedly stabbed by Garcia’s husband and the girls’ father, Miguel Mejia-Ramos.
The NYPD did not have an explanation to why there was no English translation of the report.
“I knew about the police report, and I knew about the police showing up at the house previously on one of the times where Deisy had called the police because she had been the victim of domestic violence,” Roger Asmar, the family's attorney, told CNN. “But we did not know that every time Deisy filled out a report — every time she went to the precinct or the cops came to the house — no one actually translated the text into English, so, apparently no one looked into it.”
Garcia’s family says that if the police had taken action, she might still be around.
“I know she contacted them and told them he kicked her and abused her, but the police told her they needed to see proof of the abuse,” Luzmina Alvarado, Garcia’s mother, told the New York Post.
An NYPD representative said, “The allegations are under internal review.”
Officers were also reminded that police department policy mandates that reports in foreign languages must be translated into English.
According to statements to police after his arrest, Mejia-Ramos, 28, was angry when he found a Facebook photo of his wife with another man. He allegedly used two knives to kill Garcia before hugging and kissing his daughters, asking for forgiveness, and then stabbing both of them multiple times.
The New York Times reported that after two suicide attempts, first stabbing himself in the chest and then hanging himself, he fled. An illegal immigrant, Mejia-Ramos was arrested in Texas on Jan. 20 en route to Mexico after police tracked his cellphone.
He surrendered and confessed to killing his children because he didn’t have any car seats to take them.
Mejia-Ramos was nearly deported, but his case was closed in 2011 after it fell under guidelines set up by the Obama administration that directed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to focus on cases involving those found guilty of serious crimes.
A 23-year-old New York woman says she was fired from her job at McDonald's after personally paying for the meals of local firefighters.
Heather Levia says that she was working her normal shift last week when firefighters in Olean, N.Y. ordered 25 breakfast items for $83. The first responders were working in sub-zero temperatures that morning to put out a house fire, so Levia thought that paying for their hot meals was the right thing to do.
“Just because I appreciate everything they do,” said Levia.
Later on in her shift, a different fire department that was also out working on the same fire came in to order food that totaled $70. Levia thought that McDonald’s might be willing to pay for the first responders’ food because they regularly give free meals to police officers, so she sent a text to her boss asking if it was allowed. Her boss responded with a stern no.
So, instead of allowing the firefighters to pay for their food, Levia and her fellow workers split the bill among themselves. After that, she heard from her unhappy boss, who reportedly said, “You opened a whole bee’s nest.”
Levia came to her job of eight years the next day like she normally would, but when she arrived, her boss was waiting for her. She was immediately told that she could no longer work at McDonald's, but the reason her boss gave her was that she swore at her supervisor. Levia denies this claim.
“I did say this is ‘freaking’ ridiculous. But it was not implied to anybody,” she said.
“It’s just wrong,” continued Levia. “I wish the communities would change and help each other out. I wish that things didn’t have to be the way they are. And if losing my job is going to speak out to the community, then that’s what it’s going to do.”
The owner of the Olean McDonald’s did make a statement regarding Levia’s termination and claims that her accusations are false.
“The Meyers Organization has always valued the employees who serve our customers every day,” said owner Tom Meyers. “We likewise continue to be an ardent supporter of our police and fire departments, along with other first responders. They are always welcome in our restaurants, and we will continue to support them in the future. We are aware that certain allegations have been made concerning the reasons for Heather Levia’s termination. Out of respect for Ms. Levia and her privacy, it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the reasons she is no longer employed by our organization. Still, it should be pointed out that the allegations are absolutely not true. We would never penalize an employee for showing appropriate gratitude for the work of our firefighters.”
Levia says she has received a lot of support from the community and has already been offered a few different jobs since her story went public.
A new poll by Quinnipiac University says an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support the legalization of medical marijuana. Furthermore, according to Slate.com, a majority of people in the state also supports the legalization of small amounts of the drug for personal use.
According to the poll, 88 percent of people support the medical use of marijuana, while a slimmer majority — 57 percent — support recreational use. The numbers are likely a bit of relief to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced a measured plan to introduce the issue. Under Cuomo’s plan, a select few hospitals will be allowed to distribute the drug for medical purposes.
Slate reports there is an expected generation gap among respondents to the poll. Among the 18-29 age group, there is 83 percent support for recreational use. That number drops to 38 percent for those over 65.
Not everyone thinks full legalization would be a good idea. Some citizens voiced concern to New York CBS 2’s John Slattery.
“I don’t like that whatsoever; it’s addictive, it’s illegal, it gets in the wrong hands,” Toussaint Louis told Slattery.
Some medical experts continue to urge caution as well, saying marijuana may be more dangerous than alcohol.
“If alcohol is bad that ship has sailed, and alcohol is a bad drug but that has nothing to do with marijuana,” Dr. Harris Straytner told CBS 2. "Marijuana is a completely separate drug and is bad in its own way."
With support for legalization growing as New York’s medical initiative moves forward and other states, like Colorado, adopt relaxed laws, the voices of detractors may soon be drowned out.
“Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York State voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun," Maurice Carroll, who conducted the poll for Quinnipiac, said. "But a slim plurality don't think legalization has been good for Colorado's reputation.”
A temperamental New York City subway worker was caught on camera flipping off a customer and refusing to sell him a ticket.
The angry worker is Stephen C. Herbert.
On February 11, 2012, Herbert got into a heated exchange with an elderly Subway passenger. Herbert allegedly yelled at the elderly woman during an argument about a senior citizen free-ride ticket. The woman called Herbert an idiot after he yelled at her.
After overhearing the argument, New York filmmaker Jonathan Pilott started videotaping the exchange.
As the elderly woman strolled off, Herbert finished the exchange in true second grade style by again calling her an idiot.
Pilott then approached Herbert and asked him about the incident. The two exchanged some less-than-friendly words and Herbert found himself once again losing his temper with a customer.
“I’ve been riding the subways all my life,” said Pilott, “and never have I seen anything like that by a subway employee ... You just don’t treat people that way.”
Luckily for you, Pilott caught the whole ordeal on film. Here Herbert is yelling at Pilott, middle fingers raised and all:
Nine people were arrested and over 3,000 fighting roosters and hens were seized when New York authorities busted a cockfighting ring believed to be one of the biggest ever uncovered in the United States.
Operation ‘Angry Birds,' named after a popular mobile game, targeted a gambling operation where people bet up to $10,000 on a single fight to see roosters battle to their death, ABC News reports. It was the biggest cockfighting bust in New York history, authorities said.
A cockfight in Queens, a pet shop in Brooklyn, and a farm in upstate Plattekill were raided Saturday night into Sunday by the task force, with the help of New York State Police, the Homeland Security Department and the Ulster County sheriff's office, according to a news release from State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office.
The Queens raid disrupted a 70-person event, which included bettors and spectators of the bimonthly fight.
Simultaneously in Brooklyn, law enforcement officials busted the owner of a pet shop called Pet NV, after 50 fighting birds were taken from the basement, according to a written statement. The birds were found in poor condition inside metal cages.
Cockfighting contraband -- including artificial spurs, candle wax, medical adhesive tape and syringes used to inject performance-enhancing drugs into the roosters -- was also found in the basement.
The owner of the pet shop, Jeremias Nieves, 74, was arrested and charged with prohibition of animal fighting.
The Ulster County sheriff's office and other local law enforcement also helped OCTF investigators raid the 90-acre farm in Plattekill.
The ASPCA recovered up to 3,000 birds that had been bred, trained and given performance-enhancement drugs from the farm, which has been operating as a live poultry farm for years, according to the release.
For years, the roosters, which were bred and trained at the farm, were then taken to the cockfighting event raided in Queens and the pet shop in Brooklyn.
More than 70 people at the building were detained and questioned, and about 65 birds were seized. Nine people were charged with felonies, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Spectators paid admission and a seat fee for the all-night fights in the basement, where alcohol and drugs were sold, prosecutors said.
Humane societies and animal rescue groups in seven states are helping with the transfer and sheltering of the animals, officials said.
New York Attorney General Schneiderman announced the arrests:
"Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public and is known to facilitate other crimes. My office will keep working to hold these individuals accountable, and put an end to illegal cockfighting," said Schneiderman.
Cockfighting is a crime in all 50 states. In New York, cockfighting and possession of a fighting bird at a fighting location are felonies that carry a maximum sentence of four years in jail and a fine of $25,000.
A New York nurse is in critical condition after a patient senselessly beat her on Friday.
The nurse, 70-year-old Evelyn Lynch, is in critical condition.
Lynch was caring for patient Kwincii Jones at Brookdale University Hospital on Friday. After Lynch took out Jones’ catheter, he became inexplicably agitated and beat Lynch. Police say Jones struck Lynch’s head, knocked her to the floor, and kicked her as she lay on the ground.
A fellow nurse heard the assault and called police. Lynch was quickly transported to Kings County Hospital Center where she remains in critical condition.
Lynch already underwent brain surgery at the hospital. She suffered numerous facial fractures from the attack as well.
“The whole family [is] very distraught over this, and we're asking for all the prayers we can get,” close friend and doctor Marvo Forde said. “We never expected [this to happen] in a place she was caring for a patient.”
One of Lynch’s Brookdale colleagues spoke to CBS New York about the attack.
“...She was a sweet old lady,” the colleague said. “That’s why it’s a little weird to me because I don’t know why it would happen. It’s not like she was mean or anything like that.”
After attacking Lynch, Jones hid in a hospital bathroom until he was forcibly removed by police. He now faces second-degree assault and attempted murder charges.
Brookdale University Hospital released a statement on the attack over the weekend.
“We are very saddened and shocked by this incident,” the statement says. “Our staff comes to work each day to serve the community and we expect that the respect we show our patients to be returned in kind.”
A 66-year-old New York man was awarded a generous payout after suing the IRS for a fall at their Long Island office nearly six years ago.
According to William Berroyer, back in 2008, he went to an IRS office in Hauppauge for an audit and to figure out a plan to pay the $60,000 that he owed them. While at the office, Berroyer claims he tripped over a telephone wire and severely injured himself.
“I really can’t say whether I hit it with my shoulder, hand or elbow, but I broke my fall on the cabinet,” said Berroyer in his testimony.
Berroyer says that following the fall, his entire life changed. He claims that since the incident, he has been unable to enjoy his life and do normal things like golf or have regular sex with his wife. He apparently spent the 17 days following the 2008 fall in hospitals and rehab centers trying to recover.
‘I was frightened,” said Berroyer in court. “I had gone from everything to nothing, and I was frightened.”
The IRS was aware that the fall happened but said that Berroyer was exaggerating his injuries. They even went so far as to send a surveillance crew to his home to back up their claims.
Still, the judge partially sided with Berroyer, and now, he will be awarded $862,000 as a payout for the incident. He initially sued for $10 million because of claims that he was wheelchair-bound since the injury, but the judge didn’t buy that part.