6 November 2008
To: Mayor Bloomberg
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
Asst. Dir. Mark Mershon, FBI/NYCContinued
Dep. Assist. Sec. H.R. Simpson D’OHS, NYC
From: Capt. E. X. Delaney, 18th Precinct (Mid-town North)
Subject: Election Night Violence
Preliminary: Based on many media reports and suggestions (see, e.g., J. Carville, CNN, 7 October) that violence might erupt on election night in the event B. Obama did not win, the mayor had directed a city-wide alert of regular and special units. With two exceptions, according FBI and D’OHS liaison, there were no such incidents in the entire nation.
At the direction of Mayor Bloomberg, I am reporting directly on the two election-related violent incidents that occurred on the night of 4-5 November 2008. As both incidents occurred in my precinct, and because I deployed with our fast-response squads both times, my report is based on personal observation as well as subordinates’ statements.
At approximately 0145 hours on 5 November, all networks broadcasted the concession speech by B. Obama, after his narrow loss to J. McCain. At 0152 hours, we received a 911 call from 620 Eighth Avenue. The caller reported that several fistfights had erupted in the top-floor suite of offices. The 911 operator reported hearing screams and the sounds of crashing furniture.
I deployed immediately with a team comprised of one lieutenant, one sergeant and eight officers, and arrived on scene about ten minutes later. On entering the New York Times editorial suite, we heard muffled voices, intermittent shouts and screams apparently coming from an executive conference room.
Enroute to the conference room (about forty (40) paces) we observed approximately thirty (30) bodies lying on the floor or slumped in chairs. They had apparently consumed quantities of a red liquid, apparently strawberry Kool-Aid, that was spilled and splashed around the premises. Of varying ages and genders these thirty bodies were all later determined to be alive, having been heavily dosed with Prozac. There were broken computer screens, the reddish liquid splashed on desks and walls and a variety of other disarray.
On entering the conference room, we observed a white female, approximate age 60, punching the face of a white male, approximate age 50, who was lying on his back sprawled on a large conference table. While punching vigorously, the female was shouting, “you little jerk” and “how could you let America do this?”
Det. Lt. T. Kojak attempted to restrain the female at which moment she attached herself to him in a manner reminiscent of one of those creatures from “Alien.” She was pulled off Kojak by two other officers, who handcuffed her as she recommenced screaming. (Kojak was uninjured).
We identified the combatants. The female was M. Dowd and the male was A. Sulzberger. Both were arrested. Sulzberger was treated on scene by EMS for multiple contusions and abrasions. Both were taken to Mid-Town North for further questioning.
By that time, a forensics team had arrived and began to gather evidence of the Kool Aid and fingerprints. Officers G. Toody and F. Muldoon were left in charge of the scene to gather evidentiary statements from other witnesses. At that point, approximately 0315, I and my fast deployment squad returned to our vehicles headed back to the precinct.
Enroute communications informed us of another incident which had just been reported on the top floors at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and we proceeded immediately to the scene. It proved to be a far more serious situation.
We got to NBC Headquarters, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, at about 0325 to find FDNY and EMS units grouped in the lobby, assisting citizens who were evacuating by elevator. On-scene commander NYFD Capt. M. Gilhooley informed me that fires were reported on the top two floors and that access for fire and EMS personnel was precluded by barricades on the staircases and by panicked citizens cramming and disabling the elevators in an effort to evacuate.
We briefly questioned several of the citizens, all of whom were severely agitated and inebriated. They said that they had consumed considerable quantities of what they called “KO cocktail.” (Later laboratory analysis showed the “KO cocktail” to be a combination of Red Bull, vodka and lysergic acid diethylamide.)
The citizens said that many fires had been set by K. Olbermann who had made statements including that “B. Obama was a false messiah, and I am the real one”, “I will reach television heaven tonight and take all of you with me” and had apparently taken dozens of hostages.
At that point, I authorized the use of excessive force to apprehend K. Olbermann.
Unable to otherwise access the scene, I requested helo support. NYPD Air Units 34 and 12 responded. We proceeded to the roof and effected entry at approximately 0335.
Upon entry, we observed a number of small fires burning in waste cans, atop desks and through the smoke we saw a number of fistfights under way. We disregarded these and immediately made our way to the two stair wells to enable fire and EMS entry.
Our squad split to clear the two stairwells. In the one my group entered, we found two persons manning emergency fire hoses, using the high-pressure water to prevent access from below. We arrested R. Maddow and C. Matthews who claimed to be acting in “self defense of the network.”
Returning to the interior, as NYFD and EMS arrived to deal with fires and injuries, we were able to rapidly put down the riot among the one hundred (100) or so persons present. At that point, I heard Lt. T. Kojak shouting “do it, baby” in an adjacent room, which I entered immediately.
Inside, I observed a purple-robed figure standing on top of a pile of New York Times and Washington Post newspapers. This person was pouring vodka on the papers beneath him and holding a lit candle above his head, shouting, “They chose the wrong messiah.” From the prior witnesses’ statements, I identified the person as K. Olbermann. Two other persons, obviously not hostages, were bowing before him and begging him to not light the fire, promising to make him the anchor of NBC Nightly News. (They were later identified as S. Capus and J. Zucker.)
As T. Kojak repeated his, “do it, baby” shout, K. Olbermann simultaneously dropped the candle and his robe (leaving him unclothed). Fire erupted as he leaped off the papers, at which point T. Kojak became convulsed in laughter, as was I. We tackled K. Olbermann and arrested him for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. NYFD personnel put the fire out before it spread to adjacent rooms. S. Capus and J. Zucker were treated on scene for minor burns.
The scene was secured and incident ended approximately 0410.