NYPD Chess Crackdown- Case Dismissed

I’m not sure if there is a “chess journalist of the year award,” but if there is, then Macauley Peterson deserves to win it. I love his show “The Full English Breakfast,” and his coverage from the London Chess Classic was superb. This article at chessvibes really puts him over the top though, in my opinion. I’m glad that someone out there followed up on this story and didn’t merely let it fall through the cracks.

As many of you already know, about a month ago a number of New York City residents where issued summonses for playing chess in a park with a playground under an ordinance that was intended to protect children from pedophiles by requiring adults near a playground to be accompanied by a child. The men were playing chess on the built in chess tables, the same that many NYC parks have, when they were arrested for their unlawful violation.

Five of the players arrested asked the court for an ACD, (an outcome that is extremely common for anyone who doesn’t have a prior record. While I was at the Kings Country District Attorney’s Office as an intern in law school I saw this happen in a large number of misdemeanor cases.) An ACD, or Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, is when the court decides to adopt a “wait and see” approach, and if the defendant doesn’t break any other laws within 6 months, then the original charges will be dropped.

In a brave decision, two of the players decided to not accept an ACD, but rather sought to fight the charges on their face. They won, and we hope that the NYPD and New York City Parks Department will adjust their current stance on chess playing in order to avoid this kind of situation in the future.