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Malcontent Arrested Following School Yard Graffiti

Photo: QueensPost

March 30, 2010 By Christian Murray

The perpetrator of some ugly graffiti at Sunnyside’s PS 150 has been arrested, according to police.

Daniel Wattenbarger, a 58-year-old male who lives on 41st Street, was arrested on March 23 for painting a message full of expletives on a wall adjacent to PS 150 — for all the students to read. He had been complaining to teachers at the school that the 6-to-10 year-olds made too much noise during recess, police said.

The arrest comes about two weeks after the March 10 incident.

The crime was linked to Wattenbarger after he went to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office several days after the graffiti incident to complain about the noise coming from PS 150. Wattenbarger allegedly told a staffer: “What am I supposed to do, shoot them.”

Staffers at Van Bramer’s office called the police. After police questioning, Wattenbarger confessed to the graffiti, police said. In addition, he was charged with “making a terrorist threat” [concerning the statement in Van Bramer’s office], a felony. Van Bramer and PS 150 have a restraining order against him.

Wattenbarger posted $8,000 in bail and has a court appearance on March 31.

When Wattenbarger was arrested, nearby parents cheered while he was being escorted from his apartment.

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13 Comments

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Henry Lopez

I remember seeing this during recess and was surprised by it. At the time I didn’t know why those words where there and shrug it off as something random. It wasn’t until I remember this and decided to look it up, after all these years I finally know why.

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anonymous

mr van bramer is a hipocrat this guy family are people of no morals and no values his brother is in a adultra this guy also was shuttling around the woman his brother not only had affair with but past 2 kids on to the poor husband of the woman his brother had affair with it is obvious to normal people the jimmy van bramer sins every day with his practicing his homosexuility and trying to shove it down our throats his boyfriend was kick out of the navy because he was gay and that was the right thing to do a majority of military people dont want to be serving with gay or lesbian people military people in a whole come from different faiths and almost all of them agree homosexuality is a sin and in alot of other country people are attacked for that it is very offensive and so is adultry and mr jimmiy van bramer so call family qualifies in both catagories

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Daniel Wattenbarger

First, I am surprised at the attention. One would think that such attention would be paid before such a story is published. I have yet to hear from the reporter who wrote this story and yet my name has been plastered here for something I did not do and something that is not a crime. I cannot go into this further until the case is settled in court. For those who are concerned about the costs realize that the you are paying for lawyers on both side of the case.

Let’s however, discuss the issues. I will not indulge in the name-calling of your article though
there are several things that could be attached to the practice of your journalism. Also I will not indulge in racist statements as have some of the posters. This is not a matter of race.
It is a matter of the rights of a citizen to not be harmed by the action of government.

To explain this statement. When I move here some 18 yearss ago. P.S. 150 had roughly
half the classrooms it has now and about one-thitrd of the number of students. There are
by the stement of the principal some 1,400 children at this school about 500 of which are bused in from other neighborhoods where there are also publivc schools. In addition the playground, because of the building extension has been reduced to about half its former size.

Let’s look at the problem this causes. The schoolyard has play area for roughly 100 students
at a time, thus it is necessary to have about 14 20 minute recess periods. If you do the math
you will find that what you suggest is a 20 minute recess lasts just short of 4 hours. On normal days this is between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. On bad weather days it has been known to start as early as 8:15 am. I can get into my apartment, close all the windows, turn on the air conditioner play the steero loudly and still be overwhelmed by the noise from the playground. I am at the point of the building furthest from the playground.

Please understand that I am not against children playing and I am also not complaining about the children. Children do what they are taught. This makes it clearly the fault of the school administration that this problem exists. First, the plan of the school addition was at best faulty. Logically, theextension should have been built near our building as opposed to its present location. This would have created a multilevel playground bewteen the two building and contained the noise of the added students. It is of note that my building was not contacted for input into the plans. I know because I was president of the building when the extension was built.

Secondly, the school is already overcrowded without the addition of some 20 busloads of students. In addition to piling the extra students into the neighborhood they cause severe traffic jams when school starts or lets out. The school is overcrowded and this is not the fault of the children.

Thirdly, By the statement of the of the principal, the school commisioner of schools for the area and representatives from both the mayor’s office and Joel Klein’s office there are no attempts to control the situation that they have created. The attitude that they take is “We want them to scream on the playground, That way they scream less when they come inside the school” This statement has been repeated to me by several levels of the administration.

The students express it differently. I have overheard many of them say “It’s a playground, we can make as much noise as we want” As chiildren essentially repeat what they here I can only surmise that someone (parents, teachers etc.) has told them that. This is a radical change in the students thought patterns that corresponds with the assignment of a new principal to the school.

The busing and the overcrowding have been problem ever since the extension was built but the noise was never a problem until the the new principal arrived. This new principal has tried, for example, To line up the 1,400 children outside in the playground before school began at 7 am. This practice was only stopped by police action (I.E. even a school has a responsibility to keep the noise down before 9 am) . When I spoke to the principal she basically stated that it was beyond her control. When I suggested that she contact the former principal in regard to the methodology used. She called the police to say I was harrassing her. By her own statement I was never less than polite to her. the problem was that I said things that she disagreed with.

Ultimately this a problem that was caused by the action of government mismanagement and is further exacerbated by the the total disregard of citizens in the neighborhood by the people that we are paying to manage the situation. This was a problem that was managed well for years and now has “blossomed” under the force of new management. It is in short a problem that would not be a problem except for the arrogance of the principal and the mismanagement of the school planning board.

Essentially, the mismanagement has the effect of taking my tax money and using it to run me out of my apartment. The question I ask you is this. Does the government have the right to require me to pay taxes and then use that money in such an inappropriate manner as to make my home unlivable for several months of the year? I personally believe that they have a responsibility to protect my rights from there actions.

This is a far more interesting story than the one that you have written and one you could have written had you done could have written had you only bothered to do some basic research.
By the way the term for such biased reporting is “Yellow Journalism” . I am sure that you have no idea what I mean..

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Anonymous

I live near the playground, and not only has it never been “deafeningly loud”, but when I do hear the kids, I hear laughing and playing. Why don’t you try moving to a neighborhood where parents don’t let their kids outside, and where the playground is used for less savory activities, and see how you like it.

Regardless, writing obscene graffiti on a playground wall and then ranting about using a gun to settle the problem is clearly no joke…and if you want to talk about tax dollars, as a born and bred citizen-taxpayer (well, my grandparents were immigrants- but white ones, so I guess that’s cool!) , I am not psyched about my tax dollars being spent taking this dude to court for a restraining order.

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sunnyside_south

I agree that kids are out of control these days, and it is a pain to live near a school yard. However, I would think most rational, sane adults can agree that he went about trying to get it resolved in a very poor manner. He lost any sympathy I would have for his situation by making threats in JVB’s office, and responding to bad behavior w. some of his own.

That being said, the above posters are right: children are out of control, and the graffiti situation is getting really bad. Wonder how many graffiti arrests the 108 made in the past year. I’m guessing not too many.

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Monika

Are Sherpa Garang and Fed up too really defending a person who threatened to shoot children and made a terrorist threat to an elected official’s office? Instead of spewing racist rants on the internet, why don’t you contact community leaders, join a civic group and address your issues in a constructive manner?

There are other means to address the worsening noise, graffiti, and other quality of life issues in the neighborhood than resorting to threats and violence as Mr. Wattenbarger did. When I called the 108 to share concerns about the public drinking, urination, etc happening around the playground, an officer told me to call 311 whenever I notice anything unsavory and/or illegal happening. I’d recommend neighbors do the same. Let’s be proactive and demand that those whose charge it is to handle these sorts of issues–the police–do something about them.

And thank you Post Reader and Mr. Collins for restoring my faith in my neighbors.

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Michael Collins

As this is a website devoted to news on two communities that have historically welcomed immigrants to this country and have thrived on their contributions to the community, it’s particularly sad to see ignorant, racist, and marginally-coherent rants such as these make an appearance, but I suppose it’s to be expected. There are many “adults” who exhibit a lack of self-control and civility that is just as noxious as what they’re griping about where youth are concerned.

“post reader”, above, offers very sound advice that everyone would do well to heed.

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FED UP TOO

I agree with Sherpa..
This is unreal..It is true..young hispanic and black kids..graffiti all the time..with crude messages..and what nothing..Same thugs on corners smoking pot hanging out drinking beer pissing in the steets..(I know..I see it all the time….and what?..nothing is done!!!!!!!)
..and here is this guy who is fed up with the YOUTH OF TODAY, Who have no respect anymore.. And the teachers and parents have no control. Kids are not taught to respect anything or anyone anymore. And well it shows..look the parents were cheering when this guy got arrested…I mean now really? ..
Yes this is a taxpayer who lives in the community LEGALLY..and this is what he gets?.. because he wants to live in a quiet neighborhood.. this is unfair..and as far as those illegals.. I am sure half the kids in the school are from illegal parents..and the sad part is WE along with Mr. Wattenbarger are all paying from OUR TAXES.. for all those Noisy Illegal kids with no respect or manners! …

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Sherpa Garang

do only older white people get arrested for doing graffiti? what about all the black & Dominican drug dealers who advertise using graffiti? they vandalize business’s, homes, mail boxes, street lights. and get away with it, because they are black thugs.

how do we know this man doesn’t work a night shift and can’t sleep with all the recess noise? Has the author been to a NYC public school yard at recess lately? the noise is deafening.

school children are no longer taught to be silent while in the library. If they are screaming, shouting, running and fighting in the library, what do you think they are doing in the school yard?

I feel sorry for this guy, he was driven to take action, then when he went to his elected officials office he was further marginalized. I am sure if he was an illegal immigrant, he would have gotten help. Maybe he feels that the community is being invaded by people who take from the taxpayer while hating this country?

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Alan Gersten

Editor,

Excellent story about the misguided man complaining over recess. How long does recess last? Take a walk while the kids are running around.

Your publication fills a niche not filled by the New York Times, Daily News or Post. Keep up the good work.

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