About 70 adults, two police officers, and a clutch of politicians defended Elm Park tonight. Residents came out to protest a small group of young men who are, they say, making the park unbearable.
Through the to and fro, I think a story emerged. Three young men are behaving like thugs and nincompoops. About 14 years old, they are threatening residents, behaving like boors, and pushing people around. They have bodily threatened more than a few people.
Many other young people hang out on the corner, and your humble correspondent worries about them. One young man, whom I know, bravely spoke up to the crowd. He said that he wasn’t like the others, and that he was afraid of being caught up in the trouble. “I am not a part of them. I rarely ever speak to them. I came up to speak because I didn’t want to get tied into it.”
He was right to worry.
The police officers collected information and gamely assured the crowd that they would have uniform and plain-clothes officers in the park more often. He said that residents should call if they feel threatened, and said the young men would be arrested if the threats are serious. “They’re going to get sick of us”, he promised—though not in a threatening way.