Cops Sent a Helicopter, a Drone, and Cars to Go After a Graffiti Artist

No one really knows why.
NYPD helicopter is seen above the 90th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2016 in New York City.

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Dozens of New York Police Department officers and patrol cars, a helicopter, and even a drone were dispatched to a Brooklyn neighborhood Thursday morning in an hours-long standoff with...a graffiti artist.

The artist, later identified as 35-year-old Erin Clancy, had ascended the water tower, which stood approximately 10 stories above the ground, to work on a Super Mario-inspired piece. Officers on the scene told The Gothamist that they blocked off several streets and a nearby park, all in an effort to corner their creative culprit after they said the artist refused to come down from his perch.


About 5 hours into the standoff, the artist finally came down from the tower and was promptly taken to a local hospital for observation.

The overwhelming official response has local residents questioning why police rolled onto the scene with such intensity, considering the low stakes of the crime in question.

”It’s obvious that the police resources are being misappropriated,” an onlooker told The Gothamist. “There’s one guy up there. There’s one way up and one way down. It's absurd.”

“It was kind of a surprise to see so much police presence for a little thing,” another resident said."It’s a little over-the-top.”

Others took the opportunity to criticize the NYPD on how it decides to use their billions of dollars in funding to address situations like these.

Politicians got involved too. “Was it worth it?,” local councilman Antonio Reynoso asked the NYPD in a tweet.

In a brief press conference held Thursday evening, police said they deployed the use of the drone after fearing for Clancy’s safety.

“There were no reported injuries to members of the service,” Chief Wilson Aramboles told the press. “This was a safe resolution to an incident that could have had a much direct [sic] outcome.”

Clancy was charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, five counts of possession of graffiti instruments, criminal trespass, trespass and disorderly conduct, according to the NYPD. Clancy, who has been arrested twice for graffiti-related incidents, faces up to a year in prison for Thursday’s event.