On Wednesday night, a Bank of America executive visiting New York from North Carolina was arrested for allegedly assaulting a nude, painted performer in Times Square. Mark Walters, who is 46, posed with two women, and then accused one of stealing his wallet. Lourdes Carrasquillo, a 40-year-old who lives in the Bronx, was then dragged to the ground by her hair, police say.
"I didn't do any of that," Carrasquillo told the New York Post about the alleged theft. "I've been out here for two years."
That same evening, another nude performer named Destiny Romero was busted for allegedly offering an undercover cop oral sex. Her handler, Jason Perez, was accused of offering the cop cocaine and molly, the Post reported in a separate story.
This is exactly the kind of shady shit Mayor Bill de Blasio was worrying about when, on August 20, he announced a crackdown on these entertainers. The mayor was worried both that tourists would get fleeced by these figures and that Times Square would then lose the family-friendly reputation it has kinda, sorta acquired in recent years. As soon as the news broke, the mostly-nude women—also known as desnudas—fled the corporatized, seizure-inducing outdoor mall that was once known as a refuge for prostitutes, seedy sex shops, and peep shows.
On Wednesday afternoon, the NYPD announced it will be adding additional security cameras to the area, as well as making more use of their station there. The plan is to increase the number of police officers in Times Square from 47 to 107 by the beginning of October, which is when the mayor's office will release a report detailing the legal and oversight issues caused by entertainers.
"We're gonna be looking for aggressive solicitation against the costumed characters and the CD hawkers and the naked ladies if there is any," Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermot Shea said at an NYPD press conference. "We're gonna be handing out handbills for tourists so they know what to expect as they come into Times Square."
Mark Walters was apparently a tourist who did not know what to expect. The businessman posed with two performers Wednesday at around 9:30 PM. When he went to tip them, he noticed he had no wallet. He then allegedly attacked the desnudas, striking a second one in the face when she tried to help her colleague, while a nearby cop dashed over to intervene.
The Naked Cowboy, a street performer and Times Square staple, apparently laid the smackdown on Walters.
"That man needs to pay for what he did to me," Carrasquillo told the Post. "He hurt me. He grabbed us in the middle of the street and we tried to get away from him and he still kept trying to assault us."
Walters had his bail set at $1,500 on Thursday night in Manhattan Criminal Court for a misdemeanor assault charge.
Romero, who allegedly offered a cop oral sex, was charged with prostitution, and Perez, the manager who allegedly offered coke and MDMA, has been accused of promoting prostitution and criminal sale of a controlled substance.
Given that there were two crimes involving desnudas in one day, it might seem like de Blasio was onto something when he said the performers are causing a bunch of unnecessary problems.
But when a reporter—for the Post, which has been all over this story—went "undercover" to see what it was like as a desnuda, she came out on "team topless," concluding that going after painted ladies might not be the best use of resources.
"Of all the issues to dedicate task forces and extra cops to," wrote Amber Jameison, "going after painted ladies seems like naked politics."
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