United Kingdom

Washington Square Park DJ provocateur and party host arrested after months neighborhood of chaos

David 'Shaman' Ortiz, 29, who claims to be the host of the illegal Washington Square Party's was arrested on July 21 for obstructing governmental administration

A DJ who hosted raucous parties in New York City's Washington Square Park was arrested last week after causing months of chaos which has left locals fed up and prompted NYPD to kick out hundreds revellers after a midnight curfew was instated.  

David 'Shaman' Ortiz, 29, was taken into police custody on July 21 around midnight, when he stepped in front of a slow-moving police car in an attempt to stop them from breaking up the hectic Greenwich Village gathering. He was quickly released. 

Ortiz was charged with a misdemeanor for obstructing governmental administration. The day after his arrest he told The New York Post, 'They tried to run me over'.

He also shared a video of the beginning of the altercation on Instagram.   

The 29-year-old has been organizing parties, which drew crowds in their hundreds,  well past the park's midnight closing time which drew hundreds and were accompanied by a host of illegal activities, along with The We Outside Crew. 

The parties have been hosted by The We Outside Crew claiming to be 'spreading positivity through music & social justice' (June 26)

Garbage and litter was strewn across the pavements and lawns in the park Saturday morning with the Big Apple's pigeon population seen taking advantage of the remnants of food left behind from the night before (May 14)

Ortiz shared a video on Instagram of him walking in front of a slow moving police car (July 21)

The We Outside Crew claims to be 'spreading positivity through music & social justice' but have caused disturbances in the park that have led to heated local community meetings. A Greenwich Village community board meeting dissolved into disorder on July 21 hours before Ortiz's arrest. 

The community meeting was one of several that have been held to discuss the unruly illegal activities that have overrun Washington Square Park in recent months. The late-night party organizers and attendees clashed with local residents at the Community Board 2 meeting, which was promoted by police oversight activists.

At the board meeting, Ortiz acknowledged himself as the host of the illegal parties and boxing matches claiming that he and The We Outside Crew are providing a community service.  

'What we do is we amplify the sound and the communication of the community that's already been there in Washington Square Park for forever,' Ortiz said.

'This park has been around for decades before any of you have even been alive. Artists have been flocking there for centuries. This is a place of community. This is a place to be, a place of welcome.' 

Speaking of an earlier arrest, Ortiz continued,  'And yes, I was arrested for this. And yes, just three days ago my case was dismissed for being arrested for amplified sound. Wanna know why? 'Cuz it's bull,' he added.

Revelers have continued to return to Washington Square to gathr long after the park's closing time of midnight (April 10)

The wild parties have continued for months and maintained strong crowds throughout the pandemic into the summer (June 26)

At one point during the chaotic meeting, Ortiz ran up to a table where panel members were seated and yelled in the officials' faces specifically aiming his anger at NYPD Capt. Stephen Spataro, the commanding officer of the 6th Precinct, according to The New York Post. The NYPD 6th Precinct oversees Washington Square Park. 

Just last month, Ortiz insisted that the parties will continue every night through the summer, claiming that it is his constitutional right to be there despite violent crime that has turned park into a no-go zone for locals. 

On June 19, Hundreds of people returned to the park again on the Saturday night for another rave, just 24 hours after a woman was trampled by terrified crowds trying to flee a man armed with a large knife and a taser. 

Speaking to DailyMail.com, party promoter David Ortiz, who calls himself 'the Shaman', said 'We're going to be here every single day. Just like the police are, we are too. Because this is as much our home as to the other residents that actually live here.'

He added, 'If you can't accept the fact that I'm living within my First Amendment constitutional rights, which is the right to freedom of speech and to rally in a public place, then my friend you are living in the wrong country and democracy is not for you'.

Despite complaints from the neighborhood, Ortiz has continued to host parties and encourage late-night loud noise in Washington Square Park. Upset neighbors began hosting community board meetings with the local police to work to end the late-night chaos

Locals have told how the park changes after dark, from a calm, relaxing atmosphere during the day to chaos when the sun goes down (April 10)

New Yorkers dance the night away in Washington Square Park Friday night as the Big Apple continues to return to normal (June 26)

The large parties have seen unruly New Yorkers openly breaking the laws and gathering maskless in large crowds (June 26)

Police have continued to gather at the park after hours to monitor the chaos (June 18)

Ortiz had earlier claimed that he was throwing the parties to help people's mental health after the Covid pandemic.

He told photographer Leeroy Johnson, 'What we do is gather people around and do events. Why? Because there's been a lot of situations that has happened in the past - COVID - that's impeding on our mental health.

'And for me - that hits me personally. Because I know what it is to know how being inside really takes away from the creative person that we all are. So we're here.

'I know there's issues, I know there's fights, I know there's things happening in the park. But that's why we are here.'

As the raves at the park have escalated, there have been claims of prostitution and public sexual acts, hard drug use, and people carrying weapons like baseball bats.

During the day on June 19 local residents told DailyMail.com how they avoided the park after dark for fear of violence. The night before a 43-year-old woman - who has not been named by officials - was left bloodied and bruised after being trampled as revelers fled from a man wielding a knife and a taser.

A 43-year-old woman was left bloodied after being trampled as revelers fled from a man wielding a knife and a taser (June 18)

The woman was seen with blood pouring from her face Friday night ad NYPD officers went to her aid in the park (June 18)

Ortiz said he began hosting the parties to help people's mental health after the Covid pandemic but the gatherings began before restrictions were lifted (June 6)

Police Department officials monitored the crowds at Washington Square Park (June 19)

Police were gathered under the iconic arch at Washington Square Park (June 19)

Two weeks ago revelers clashed with police attempting to impose a 10pm curfew, leading to 23 people being arrested and eight cops injured (June 5)

DailyMail.com photos show the woman sat on the ground with blood pouring from her face following the incident. A man was seen handcuffed and being led away by police.

Jason McDermott, 42, was arrested without incident and was charged with menacing, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. McDermott has been arrested at least 10 times between 2010 and 2014, sources told DailyMail.com.  

But Ortiz insists that it is 'one percent' of the crowd that is making the rest look bad.

He told DailyMail.com 'It's community policing. Say there is a stabbing here, we all keep each other accountable.

'That's what leadership is. Taking each other into account, and understanding when to take control and when to divert, and how to go about a situation. And we have a number of those individuals here in the park.'

Ortiz said he regretted not informing the local community members about his plans before launching the parties, but added,' I tried to go to a community board meeting...but I was denied access.' He added that the venue was at capacity.

And he appeared to hit out at residents who have complained about the parties.

The scene in the morning light after hundreds gathered in the park overnight for a huge party with dancing and singing (May 14)

What was once a popular place for families to play and runners to jog resembled a garbage dump with used needles and dirty clothes lying around the area (May 14)

The park resembled a garbage dump Saturday morning as the remnants of the party the night before were clear to see (May 14)

He said, 'I'm not here to bring animosity. We're here to have a good time with the community and to amplify their voices. And if some community members, the one percentile or the rich, can't handle that then they need to go somewhere else and move.'

Speaking about criticism that he is organizing parties in downtown Manhattan when he actually lives across the city in Queens, he insisted he has deep ties to the area.

He said, 'Born in Brooklyn. Went to Mary Burcham High School, in downtown Manhattan. I have been here every single day of my life in Manhattan.

'Probably longer than these two-bit residents that are living here now. I'm here every single day and all they do is pay property taxes here. What we do is we actually bring joy.'

The park's midnight closing time was restored after police lifted the 10pm curfew on June 19.

Since then, cops have taken a hands-off approach to enforcing the curfew, with revelers partying on well into the night.

Kevin Keener, 45, a street vendor selling art in the park every day for the last seven years said on Saturday night that cops need to clean the park up so he can make more sales.

'When it gets rowdy, it's bad for the sales. They need the cops to come by to stop the fights because we want the park to be quieter rather than all the fights.'  

In June, Rodney Harrison, the NYPD’s Chief of Department, the highest ranking uniformed officer on the force, told reporters at City Hall that fliers would be handed out to park visitors reminding them to clear out by the midnight closing time.

Mayor Bill De Blasio downplayed the violence and chaos at Washington Square Park in recent weeks, telling reporters that he believes the situation will resolve itself ‘naturally.’

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