You Goetz to be kidding!
Notorious subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz is waging war on two legal fronts — fighting eviction from his Union Square apartment over his pet squirrels, and taking on the police over an arrest for selling weed to an undercover cop. The 67-year-old’s beloved critter is one of many lease violations cited by Goetz’s landlord in Housing Court.
An inspection of the apartment in March, due to complaints about moths hatching from rotten food, revealed a homemade “habitrail” of cardboard boxes for a squirrel, papers show. When an inspector asked if Goetz had more than one of the squirrels in the apartment, he replied, “Don’t ask,” according to court papers.
His squirrels have been a common sight dating back to at least 2004, when court papers say he was “observed washing a wild squirrel in the building’s laundry room.” He allegedly explained that “the squirrel had fleas.”
Neighbors at the W. 14th Street building said they know Goetz — infamous for shooting four black men who he said tried to mug him on the subway in 1984 — as “Squirrel Man.”
“He would be trying to hide (a squirrel), holding it close to him, tucking it under his arm or shirt. But you can’t miss that,” one worker at the building said.
Documents charge Goetz’s apartment has become a “Collyer house,” with filthy clutter piled several feet high. "Every item listed in the notice of termination can be easily cured but for the alleged squirrel possession,” his lawyer, Spencer Sheehan said. Documents indicate Sheehan will argue the squirrel is a “comfort animal” protected under the law.
But wait, it Goetz better.
In a wrongful arrest suit he filed in Manhattan Federal Court last month, Goetz admits to giving weed to a pushy undercover cop in Union Square in 2013, but insists he declined payment on principle. Goetz thinks “the positive and/or salutary effects of marijuana should be available to be experienced by individual adults over the age of 21 who so desired, absent financial barriers,” papers read.
In August, the criminal charges were dismissed after a judge said prosecutors took too long to bring the case to trial. Goetz seeks unspecified damages for unlawful imprisonment, among other violations. City attorney Qiana Smith-Williams wrote last week the city plans to file a motion to dismiss the suit.
Any damages would almost entirely go toward the $43 million civil judgment against him for the subway shooting, a source said.
By Rikki Reyna - The NY Daily News/May 4, 2015
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New York's Subway Vigilante Bernie Goetz Still the Subject of Interest on Many Levels