Todd Maisel/NewsRev. Samuel Cruz says police presence wasn't necessary at the church meeting, which he says drew about fifteen attendees and eight cops.
A furious Brooklyn pastor says cops staked out his church to keep tabs on a group of residents who, in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street
, met to discuss similar issues.
He told Pintos that the advertised meeting drew about 15 people and did not require the eight or so cops, including auxiliaries, who responded. He said the attendees, some of whom later went to Zuccotti Park, felt intimidated and uncomfortable, particularly because one sergeant skulked around the church during the meeting.
"The law is one thing," Cruz told the Daily News. "But are they so unsophisticated as not to realize this kind of police presence creates an environment of antagonism?"
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne
, the NYPD
's top spokesman, said the sergeant was only inside the church for a few minutes to ask whether more people would be showing up, as there "were reports that as many as a thousand individuals" were expected to attend.
"That's a bold-faced lie," said Davis Galarza
, one of the organizers. "You would think with the attacks on women in Sunset Park
recently they would use their resources a lot better."