(TMU Op-Ed) — Police in New York City have gone to great lengths to prevent people from hopping turnstiles to avoid paying subway fares, but they have likely spent much more on the increased enforcement as they would gain by collecting all of the fees.
The MTA has deployed 500 new subway cops to prevent people from skipping fares on the subway, which has led to numerous confrontations—some of which have been caught on camera.
In one case last week, footage taken at the scene showed police pointing their guns at a crowded train car before tackling a 19-year-old fare-skipper who they claimed had a weapon, but officers found nothing on him after a thorough search. The next day, there was another altercation in which an NYPD officer was seen on video punching two teenagers in the face.
Residents of New York gathered in Downtown Brooklyn last week to protest against police brutality and the increased police presence on the subway.
This is what a mass fare evasion looks like. 1000+ people SHUT SHIT DOWN last night in Brooklyn. We took the streets, shut down traffic, rushed the subway station, and we sent the 🐷's a message: FUCK THE POLICE! This is what shit should look like ALL THE TIME! When will we realize that the time is NOW?? #decolonizethisplace
Posted by Decolonize This Place on Saturday, November 2, 2019
Protesters gathered in the streets near the Barclays Center late in the afternoon on Friday before making their way into the subways. While marching through the subways, protesters jumped the turnstiles together en masse as an act of civil disobedience against the harsh treatment of subway travelers.
Amin Husain, an organizer with Decolonize This Place, the group that organized the protest told Gothamist:
“We needed to react quickly because what we’re seeing is this additional 500 cops that Cuomo has authorized are waging a war on poor people of color. It’s taking the form of fare evasion, and it’s bullshit.”
“No NYPD on the MTA!” Protesters did a mass fare evasion & took over a subway station during the #FTP march in Brooklyn earlier tonite. Protesters demanded free public transportation & an end to NYPD violence against Black & Brown people, especially Black youth. #SwipeItForward pic.twitter.com/yXp0EOQcX0
— Ash J (@AshAgony) November 2, 2019
“You see all around the world similar things happening. It’s about civil unrest. If the city isn’t going to listen to the people, then the people are going to assert their legitimacy. I don’t think anyone disagrees: there should be less cops and better service for the MTA,” Husain added.
The NYPD has violently assaulted black New Yorkers this week.
For not paying $2.75 to ride the train.
So thousands of New Yorkers have taken to the streets in protest tonight.
— Joshua Potash 🆘 (@JoshuaPotash) November 2, 2019