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Agency, Employee at Odds Over Force

November 14, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The National Park Service official in charge of the Statue of Liberty is accused of obstructing a police officer who tried to arrest her husband.

National Park Service Superintendent Diane Dayson claims the officer’s use of pepper spray and beating of her husband was racially motivated harassment.

The dispute arose Monday after a U.S. Park Police officer tried to stop Kevin Dayson as he drove to his home on the federal installation on Staten Island.

Police claim that Dayson and his wife resisted attempts by the officer, Dave Moen, to handcuff him. The officer used pepper spray and appropriate force, the police union said.

Diane Dayson said through her attorney that the force was unprovoked and that park police had repeatedly stopped and demanded identification from Kevin Dayson and the couple’s college-age son after she was named superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monument in 1995.

Diane Dayson is one of the park service’s few high-ranking black women.

Officer Jeff Capps, a representative of the park officers’ union, said Moen was known for being aggressive but acted according to police guidelines and the law.

Both Daysons are charged with resisting arrest and obstructing police. Kevin Dayson is also charged with assault.

The National Park Service declined comment. It said Diane Dayson had taken leave until the charges are resolved.

Park police and superintendents are employees of the National Park Service, although the police do not report directly to superintendents.

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