The war on chess in city parks is not over, the NYPD said Tuesday after a judge tossed charges against two men ticketed for playing the strategic board game.
“The summons was defective,” Seigel said of a case that drew howls of protest against overzealous cops. Charges against five other men busted with Harrison and Peralta were dismissed last week.
Police mistakenly issued the violations under a code that bars people from being in park when it’s closed – typically after dark.
“The park was open,” Siegel said of the 2 p.m. arrests.
“Checkmated on a technicality,” said Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman.
Police brass conceded cops failed to enter the intended violation code, which bars adults from an area of the park reserved for children and their guardians.
The men did not have kids with them and were playing at chess tables located in a playground. Despite the snafu, the rule will be enforced in the future, Brown said.
“The Police Department will respond when, as happened in this case, violations of park rules and other conditions generate community complaints,” he said.
The local precinct’s “conditions team” was doing its job when it responded to complaints about drinking, drug use and violations of park rules intended to protect kids from predators, officials said. Browne said two of the seven men had arrest records.
“Had [the NYPD] not addressed the condition, no doubt they would have been damned for leaving the men in the children’s section,” Browne said.