Cops Again Seen Aggressively Arresting Someone For Selling Food In NYC Subway Station
This incident is just one of many encounters between police and citizens over the past month throughout New York.
Following recent headlines of law enforcement officials over-policing street vendors and public transit passengers, footage of an arrest on the Harlem subway platform is garnering much attention.
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On Tuesday, police apprehended a 26-year-old Black man, later identified by the New York Police Department as Byron Shark, for allegedly selling candy at the subway station. An NYPD spokesperson stated that the man was seen “displaying candy for sale in violation of New York City Transit Rules of Conduct.”
According to Gothamist, upon being confronted by NYPD officers, Shark refused to provide his identification at the police’s request. Onlookers dissented with police and captured video of the tense encounter, as four officers pinned Shark down in an attempt to arrest him. In the video, bystanders can be heard saying, “he didn’t do nothing,” and insisting that the officers didn't read Shark his rights during the arrest.
Shark’s arrest is just one instance in a recent string of excessive measures taken by NYPD officers at subway stations and throughout the city.
Last week, a Twitter user shared a video of police harassing a female street vendor named Elsa at the Broadway Junction subway stop. During the encounter, officers said that the Hispanic woman was in violation of selling churros without proper permit documentation and placed her under arrest while confiscating her snack cart.
Tonight as I was leaving Broadway Junction, I saw three or four police officers (one of them was either a plainclothes cop or someone who worked at the station) gathered around a crying woman and her churro cart. Apparently, it's illegal to sell food inside train stations. 1/? pic.twitter.com/sgQVvSHUik— Sofia B. Newman (@SofiaBNewman) November 9, 2019
With widespread attention to this incident and support from the community, dozens have organized a protest to call attention to the city’s policing practices at transit stations.
“I’m here alone and no one helps. [I've been here] four years but it wasn’t like this, this guy is very racist,” Elsa said, according to Brooklyn Paper. “I feel terrible, I tell them to give me tickets but don’t take away my stuff, it’s all I have to work for my kids.”
Over the past month, other clashes between NYPD and transit riders have reached fever pitch heights. Recently, a video was posted on social media of a frightening swarm-like arrest of a teenager who jumped a turnstile after being accused of not paying a subway fare. There was also a brawl between a group of teens and police officers at the Jay Street-MetroTech Station in Brooklyn.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is currently pushing for a campaign to increase police presence throughout the city’s subway stations, but opponents and community organizers insist that will only create more problems.
“They’re bullying teenagers, hurting the trust between people and police, and bullying vendors,” state Sen. Julia Salazar said.
A similar sentiment was echoed by the organizer of Decolonize This Place, Amin Husain.
“The selling of candy by a young teenager or churro by a woman, or the jumping of a turnstile...are not reasons to punish, fine, or otherwise endanger New Yorkers,” he told Gothamist.
“This is criminalization of poverty and theft from the people,” he said.