Volume 20, Number 45 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 23 - 29, 2011
Photos by Clayton Patterson
Heavily armed Emergency Service Unit officers at the scene on Ludlow St. Monday evening.
Documentarian doubts need for heavy police response
Monday, March 14, around 11 p.m., documentarian Clayton Patterson heard on the street that there was a robbery on Ludlow St. When he went over to investigate, he noticed some police action inside the hallway at the location, 165 Ludlow St. He saw a broken brown shopping bag on the floor on the first floor that had been ripped open, and its contents spilled on the floor and littering the steps. A young man was standing in the hallway talking to police, but not much else was going on, so Patterson left. A few minutes later, he was told by someone else on the street that “the perp” had run out of the building empty-handed and fled. Patterson waited awhile, then just assumed the incident was over, and went home. But a half-hour later, he said, he got a phone call from a neighbor that “all hell was breaking loose on Ludlow. The vehicular traffic was stopped at Houston St.,” Patterson said, “no cars could come down the block, the large police Emergency Service Unit vehicle was there — cops with machine guns, shields, sledgehammers to break down doors — a K-9 unit with dogs, a helicopter, Manhattan South Task Force crowding the sidewalk. I came back thinking maybe I had missed something — like a person in the building had been murdered,” Patterson said. He said the police at the scene told him it was dangerous, and were clearing the sidewalk, though, according to Patterson they just appeared to be “standing around.” Not wanting to risk arrest, he ducked into the Pink Pony until he saw traffic start to resume on the street. The police helicopter soon left. “The helicopter was the first to get it,” Patterson said. As one of the M.S.T.F. officers was leaving, he laughed at Patterson, “You missed all the action!” Patterson replied, “What action? The guy left the block a long time ago.” In short, the Lower East Side documentarian felt it was a waste of manpower and resources. “Truth was, it was over before I got there,” he said on Wednesday. “The perp was gone — off the block — and this was just spending a lot of city money. I thought the city was broke.”