NYPD Dispatches Dozens Of Officers, Helicopter To Corner Graffiti Artist In Greenpoint

NYPD officers (left) next to the newly-tagged water tower (right)

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NYPD officers (left) next to the newly-tagged water tower (right)

Christopher Werth/WNYC

Police have arrested a man who allegedly tagged a Greenpoint water tower, following an hours-long stand-off that several local residents characterized as disproportionate to the incident.

The alleged vandal was spotted painting the tank of a water tower across from 67 West Street early Thursday morning, cops said. For hours, dozens of officers — including plainclothes units — circled the area, cordoning off the surrounding streets and blocking access to the American Playground.

When the man refused to come down, more officers arrived on scene, along with a police helicopter and a drone. Asked about the incident, multiple officers at the scene said they were attempting to corner a graffiti artist.

Many local residents questioned the necessity of the size of the police presence.

“It’s obvious that the police resources are being misappropriated,” said one onlooker, who declined to give his name. “There’s one guy up there. There’s one way up and one way down. It’s absurd.”

Police outside the water tower on Thursday afternoon

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Police outside the water tower on Thursday afternoon

Christopher Werth/WNYC

Shannon Snyder, another local resident, said she met the tagger the previous morning, and invited him up to her building to take pictures of his piece. She described the work — a Super Mario-inspired question mark in a yellow box — as a “nice touch for the neighborhood.”

“It was kind of a surprise to see so much police presence for a little thing,” added Snyder. “It’s a little over-the-top.”

An NYPD spokesperson said police would search for similar tasks to potentially add to the charges, which are pending.

During a press conference to address the incident on Thursday afternoon, Wilson Aramboles, the commanding officer of the Emergency Service Unit, praised the officers for finding a “safe resolution” to the incident.

The NYPD’s press team then declined to answer repeated questions about the heavy-handed police response.

We’ll update the story as more information becomes available.

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