This Day in History - Tompkins Square Park Riot

August 6th 1988 - New York City



The Tompkins Square Park Riot occurred between Police and protestors in New York City. At its core, the protest was over the gentrification of the Tompkins Square Park neighborhood (Alphabet City/East Village). The park, open 24/7, had become a haven for homeless New Yorkers and the city's "outcast." The neighborhood governing board (Manhattan Community Board 3) and the New York City Parks Department established a 1 am curfew, in an attempt to curtail the park's "homeless problem." New York's mayor at the time, Ed Koch, even suggested the park was a "cesspool" and compared it to a litter box, soiled by the people who loitered there. The police were eventually brought to the park, where riots ensued after the police were allegedly attacked by projectiles, like bricks and bottles. They melee that occurred resulted in multiple injuries and over 100+ complaints of police brutality. History tends to repeat itself, and much like police events today, much of this event was recorded by bystanders and press who happened to be on the scene. The riot did ultimately lead to NYPD reform. Read more at the link provided at the bottom of this page, or for a quick read, check out: (http://www.nytimes.com/1988/08/26/opinion/yes-a-police-riot.html)