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Long walk to freedom

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A judge dismissed charges against several people who were handed summonses last month for allegedly strolling through Cobble Hill Park after closing time.

Cases against three people nabbed in a police dragnet of the quaint park around 9 pm on April 17 were thrown out because the judge was satisfied that the “suspects” had learned their lesson — and more importantly, the park’s closing time.

Or did they?

“Do you now know that the park closes at sunset?” asked Judge Alex Calebrese.

Not exactly, said Ulysses Smith, one of the defendants, who pointed out there was a sign in the park, bounded by Congress, Clinton and Henry streets and Verandah Place, that says everyone has to be out by 9 pm, but other say that sundown is the closing time.

“Well, it used to close at 10, then it was 9, now I think they’re closing at sunset,” said the judge, presiding over the packed courtroom of people accused of reckless driving, public urination and other minor offenses to the common good.

In addition to Smith, two other tardy park guests appeared on Tuesday morning in the Red Hook court and left victorious, yet unclear on the park’s actual closing time.

Even though they walked free, the accused remained indignant about being dragged into court for what they say was a harmless evening jaunt through a public place — hardly the late-night rowdiness that encouraged park neighbors to call the cops in the first place.

“I can’t really say justice was done,” said Ulysses Smith, who said police ticketed him when he was strolling through park with his wife (who, strangely, did not get summonsed because she didn’t have ID).

“I’m missing a half-day of work,” Smith added.

Others shared Smith’s mood.

“It was a waste of time, energy and money,” said Tom Abbey, who had been sitting on a park bench, talking on his cellphone when he was written up by police.

Though the cases were ultimately dismissed, the story of the “Cobble Hill Six” made headlines when The Brooklyn Paper broke the news last month about the police crackdown that snared the half-dozen alleged rule-breakers.

The Parks Department did not respond to inquiries.

Updated 5:06 pm, July 9, 2018
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