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Foot patrols for footbridge • Brooklyn Paper

Foot patrols for footbridge

Stephen Arthur — who was hit by a brick tossed from a footbridge above the Navy Street — is happy the NYPD is ramping up enforcement on the walkway.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Cops say they’re planning to increase enforcement on a treacherous Fort Greene overpass where teens have tossed bricks at cyclists and started targeting cars.

A crowd of teenagers hit two cars with “what looked like whole oranges” on Navy Street last week, according to a witness who’s on a mission to make the street safe.

Stephen Arthur — a cyclist who attackers struck in the face with a brick last August — returned to the site between Tillary Street and Myrtle Avenue at 8:40 pm on Jan. 24 to see if the city had completed its controversial plan to build a taller fence atop the bridge.

He saw no evidence of the proposed fence, but he did see a foursome of teenagers on the west side of the overpass chucking objects at cars heading south.

“They looked highly organized, like they had done this many times,” Arthur said.

The attackers, who appeared to be three boys and one girl, pelted cars passing under the bridge, then turned their attention to Arthur, he claims.

“Come closer and you’ll get it!” one of the kids allegedly shouted.

The fruit bombings come after a group of teenagers terrorized at least seven cyclists on the major Manhattan-to-Brooklyn bike lane, which passes under a pedestrian bridge that links the Walt Whitman and Ingersoll houses.

The city responded last month with plans to installer a taller, curved mesh fence to stop the ruffians, who have also thrown rocks, golf balls and apples at passers-by.

“It’s like they think this is a video game or something,” said one victim, Erik Martig, who narrowly escaped a golf ball.

It’s unclear whether the most recent attack came from the same group of teens.

Neither driver filed a police report, but a source at the 88th Precinct said cops will increase enforcement at the site.

“They’re sending more officers to the bridge,” she said.

The NYPD “public safety officers” who patrol the housing complex are assigned to the duty, she said.

The promised uptick in enforcement comes after residents of the housing projects asked for a greater police presence and blasted the fence plan, saying it is stigmatizing and feels like “punishment.”

The Department of Transportation plans to install the eight-foot-tall fence this week.

It’s a minor victory for Arthur, who says he has no beef with residents of the housing complex, only with “unsupervised kids” who “might not understand the consequences of their actions,” especially since they’re now aiming for faster-moving vehicles.

“More police isn’t always the answer — but this is not a game; it’s real violence,” he said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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