A Queens man who parked himself in the branches of a tree for two days in a bid to evade cops finally left his leafy perch thanks to a local activist who preaches peace.
An apparently emotionally disturbed Roody Thomas, 44, who was wanted in connection to an alleged assault, had camped out the unusual spot outside the home he shares with his mother on 145th Avenue in Jamaica since 2 p.m. Wednesday, law enforcement sources said.
Police swarmed the tree and tried to persuade Thomas to come back to Earth, to no avail, prompting Erica Ford, the co-founder of Life Camp in southeastern Queens, a violence prevention group, to give it a try.
Ford, along with her “chief of streets” Au Hogan, asked cops to pull out of the area so they could talk directly with Thomas.
“We told the police, this is not working and asked if we could negotiate with him,” Ford said. “There were about 100 cops out there. When we talk about reimagining public safety this is what we mean. We have to shift how we handle some things. Bringing all of this force and units doesn’t work.”
Ford, Hogan, a friend of Thomas’ from the neighborhood and a nurse who also lives nearby spoke to him after Ford said a lot of the police moved out.
Thomas came down from the tree within five minutes, she said, and is now home with friends and family as Life Camp seeks social services for him.
Thomas had been peeing in the tree and surviving off some food and glucose packs officers gave him Thursday, according to police sources. At one point, he even ate leaves.
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