By: Ilana Siyance
On Sunday, a City Councilman blasted the law-enforcement “militia forces’’ he says are focusing their efforts on busting up weddings and large gatherings in the Brooklyn neighborhood. “They are just so happy to send heavily armed militia forces into our neighborhood because they’re afraid of the size of our wedding party,” Borough Park politician Kalman Yeger told Radio 620 AM, as per a clip of the interview spreading on social media. “We have skyrocketing crime in New York City, and we have an entire department, a sheriff’s department — armed, uniformed police-style cars with lights and sirens. And what are they doing? They’re coming to Borough Park to check out our weddings. They’re standing on bridges, stopping motorists, asking them where they’re coming from, where they’re going. Is this really the best use of government resources?’’ Yeger said.
“Anyone who asks me, if you see them approaching a wedding hall — lock the doors and don’t let them in,’’ Yeger had said in the clip. The politician later explained to The Post that the short clip was taken out of context from his hour-long interview and that he was “not telling people to not comply with lawful orders of law enforcement”. “We are a community of people when we receive an order from someone with a badge, we comply,” Yeger said.
While the coronavirus crisis continues, all New York State weddings and events must continue to stick to a 50-person limit, as decided by a state Appeals Court decision two weeks ago. Cuomo’s law had been challenged by two couples with weddings booked at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Erie County. The courts were asked to allow halls to fill up to 50 percent capacity. Despite succeeding in court, the ruling is being appealed, and the 50 person max is still being enforced.
Williamsburg has gotten a bad rep for holding large gathering. Officials have said there has been a worrying “uptick” in coronavirus cases in the neighborhood, fueled by large gatherings. Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised he would crack down on the large parties even if the city didn’t. “We’ve had super spreader events in New Rochelle with the Jewish community, we’ve had them in the Catholic community. The virus does not discriminate by religious or racial lines, right? This is an equal-opportunity situation. So we police it in every circumstance,” Cuomo had said. “We don’t have any evidence that it’s worse in the Hasidic community, we haven’t gotten those complaints. If we do, we will follow up and [investigate],” he vowed.