Police officers in bullet-proof vests charged seven men with the "crime" of playing chess in an area off-limits to adults unaccompanied by kids.
According to the New York Post, the incident had taken place at an upper Manhattan park in New York when there were no youngsters around.
Inwood resident and mum Joanne Johnson wrote to Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, questioning the validity of the raid.
"Is chess really something that should be considered a threat to the neighbourhood?" News.com.au quoted her as writing.
"This incident is an embarrassment to the officers from the 34th Precinct who felt that it was necessary to use their badge and authority to issue such a random summons," she stated.
The chess tables where they were ticketed for "failure to comply with signs" are in a fenced-in area where posted notices read: "Adults allowed in playground areas only when accompanied by a child under the age of 12."
Police said the rule protects kids from paedophiles or others who might want to harm them.
"It's the broken windows theory ... small things can turn into bigger things," a police source said.
Adding: "Some citizens may see it as police harassment, but God forbid something happens to a child, people would be complaining, Why didn't the police enforce these rules? That's what they would be griping about." (ANI)