By Kevin Duggan, Ben Verde, Lloyd Mitchell and Rose Adams
Reports of voter harassment began Tuesday morning. Outside MS 88 in South Slope, an unmasked man with a Trump flag waving from his car screamed at voters entering and exiting the site at around 9:50 am. The man was heard telling voters to “go get some Vagisil,” and was filmed threatening voters with violence.
“There was a clear threat of physical violence,” said Kathy Park Price, a Park Slope resident working as a poll watcher.
According to Price, authorities on the scene did little to deescalate the situation and eventually had a “friendly conversation” with the heckler, who thanked police profusely before leaving on his own accord at around 11 am.
“It felt like they were there to protect him and not the democratic process … it was shocking to see,” Park Price said of the Police Department’s response, adding, “You can’t ignore the fact that once he got out of his car, threatened physical violence, was belligerent and harassed multiple voters, it was absolutely an act of voter intimidation.”
I’m a poll worker here in Brooklyn. Here’s the first case of voter intimidation I’ve witnessed: pic.twitter.com/sAXaWlb08v
— Hilary Shepherd (@TheHBS) November 3, 2020
The incident comes after the mayor assuaged voters on Monday that election officials would put an end to any voter intimidation.
“The Election Observer Corps is going to be out there in force — over 500 volunteers, lawyers and city officials, people who are giving their time of themselves to make sure the election is accurate, safe, no one is intimidated, no one is harassed,” de Blasio said.
The NYPD’s official Twitter account later tweeted that the responding officers found the vehicle to be at an appropriate distance.
“Upon investigation, the vehicle was an appropriate distance away. There was no interference with voting,” the Department said. The tweet made no mention of the man’s menacing, or his threat to put a voter “in the hospital.”
This story first appeared on our sister site, brooklynpaper.com