'We are going nowhere': Organizer of out-of-control drug-fueled Washington Square Park raves that have turned landmark into a violent no-go zone for residents says it's his 'First Amendment right to be there' and he will NOT stop

 The organizer of the out-of-control raves which have plagued New York's Washington Square Park has insisted that the parties will continue every night through the summer, and says that it is his constitutional right to be there despite violent crime that has turned park into a no-go zone for locals.

Hundreds of people returned to the park again on 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. 

It is the latest in a series of nightly parties thrown in the iconic park, which have left local residents fuming at the noise with NYPD cops failing to enforce a midnight curfew. 


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'.


Speaking to DailyMail.com, party promoter David Ortiz, who calls himself 'the Shaman', said the parties would continue every night into the summer

Washington square park 'shaman' plans for the summer
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Revelers returned to the park again on Saturday night for the latest in a series of nightly parties

Revelers returned to the park again on Saturday night for the latest in a series of nightly parties

Ortiz insists that any trouble 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.'

Ortiz insists that any trouble 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.'

Organizer of late-night parties in Washington Square Park speaks
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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 Saturday, local residents told DailyMail.com how they avoided the park after dark for fear of violence. 

On Friday night 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.

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 Saturday morning 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.

On June 5, revelers clashed with police attempting to impose a 10pm curfew, leading to 23 people being arrested and eight cops injured.

And on June 11, two men were stabbed during a 10-person brawl. The following morning a 77 year-old cook at the nearby Washington Square Diner was shoved into a plate glass window after kicking a troublemaker out.

Revelers returned to Washington Square on Saturday night and stayed long after the park's closing time of midnight

Revelers returned to Washington Square on Saturday night and stayed long after the park's closing time of midnight 

Partygoers were seen playing in the park's fountain during the latest in a series of nightly parties thrown in the iconic park

Partygoers were seen playing in the park's fountain during the latest in a series of nightly parties thrown in the iconic park

Ortiz, 28, said he regretted not informing the local community members about his plans before launching the parties

Ortiz, 28, said he regretted not informing the local community members about his plans before launching the parties

FRIDAY: A 43-year-old woman was left bloodied after being trampled as revelers fled from a man wielding a knife and a taser

FRIDAY: A 43-year-old woman was left bloodied after being trampled as revelers fled from a man wielding a knife and a taser

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

FRIDAY: Locals have told how the park changes after dark, from a calm, relaxing atmosphere during the day to chaos when the sun goes down

FRIDAY: Locals have told how the park changes after dark, from a calm, relaxing atmosphere during the day to chaos when the sun goes down

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, 28, 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 this week 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.

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.' 

Police were gathered under the iconic arch at Washington Square Park on Saturday night

Police were gathered under the iconic arch at Washington Square Park on Saturday night

It is the latest in a series of nightly parties thrown in the iconic park, which have left local residents fuming

It is the latest in a series of nightly parties thrown in the iconic park, which have left local residents fuming

Hundreds of revelers descended on Washington Square Park again on Saturday night for another after-dark rave. 

A woman speaking through a megaphone shouted: 'I just wanna say to all my black people, happy Juneteenth and to the NYPD, suck my D.'

One group was seen walking around carrying a sign reading 'High 5 me if you like weed', and offering people hand sanitizer.

The girl in the group, Samantha Rose, 25, said: 'I usually see music and dance parties in the evening. Last night we had some light saber fights.'

Rose, a barista who lives in the Bronx, said didn't start coming to the park until COVID. 

'There's been a lot of people on acid in the park lately not gonna lie but that's been going on since the 60s.'

Tensions have boiled over in recent weeks between revelers at the rowdy late-night events and neighbors.


 But Rose insists the events only got out of hand when police started clashing with the partygoers.

Rose said: 'The city is noisy. Even after those first few days, police told residents to back off because it wasn't an issue.

'The first couple nights there were complaints about he noise. It wasn't disturbing until they were running past the outdoor dining tripping over tables to avoid cops.

'It's a little extreme for them to go from nothing to shoving people in fountains.' 

The NYPD had imposed a 10pm weekend curfew on the park two weeks ago following complaints from residents.

This sparked clashes between police and the partygoers that night, with 23 people arrested and eight cops injured in a night of unrest on June 5.

Some of those who went to the park after dark were making a music video

Some of those who went to the park after dark were making a music video

One group was seen walking around carrying a sign reading 'High 5 me if you like weed', and offering people hand sanitizer

Police and Parks Department officials monitored the crowds at Washington Square Park

Police and Parks Department officials monitored the crowds at Washington Square Park

The midnight closing time was restored after police on Saturday lifted the 10pm.

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.'

The NYPD had said this week its officers would enforce a midnight closure time if requested to do so by the Parks Department. But the police did not enforce the curfew on Saturday night. 

On Wednesday, 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.

On Monday, 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.’  

'We are going nowhere': Organizer of out-of-control drug-fueled Washington Square Park raves that have turned landmark into a violent no-go zone for residents says it's his 'First Amendment right to be there' and he will NOT stop 'We are going nowhere': Organizer of out-of-control drug-fueled Washington Square Park raves that have turned landmark into a violent no-go zone for residents says it's his 'First Amendment right to be there' and he will NOT stop Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:14 Rating: 5

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