by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:
Another citizen has been threatened with death by New York Police Department (NYPD) officers for fare jumping on the subway. Adrian Napier, 19, was held at gunpoint and pinned to the ground by over a dozen cops and all he had done was jump the turnstile to avoid paying the $2.75 fare.
According to police, their response was justified, after several people called police to report a young man was in possession of a firearm. Napier was not this person. However, he allegedly jumped the turnstile and ran when he saw the officers.
Instead of stopping to talk with police, Napier made a run for it, jumping over the turnstile and boarding a train. More than a dozen cops then drew their firearms and pursued him.
The incident was caught on cell phone footage by passengers and immediately caused outrage by many who saw the videos. Napier can be seen wearing a red toboggan and sitting on a subway train’s bench seating. As he raises his hands, seeing police are pointing their weapons at him, the general public begins to move away from the windows and doors.
The passengers fled in fear as a dozen cops pointed their guns into the train, endangering all of those on board.
Napier had his hands raised, was not attempting to flee, and did not appear to be angry or prepared for violence.
No less than 12 officers then jumped on the train to apprehend Napier once the doors opened. While the teen’s takedown was swift and appeared by the book, the sheer number of cops used to arrest him could be baffling to some. Questions remain as to why so many officers were needed to arrest a fare jumper.
“This man didn’t pay his subway fare — but is tackled by at least ten officers in a crowded station,” Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro wrote on Twitter Sunday. “Officers should be working to deescalate —not putting dozens of lives at risk over $2.75.”
The arrest comes at a time when NYPD is considering hiring 500 more officers to police just the subways and its interconnected system of stations. Conveniently, though, the new officers will not be considered NYPD officers and will not have to wear body cameras.
What could possibly go wrong with such a perfect setup you ask? Well, for starters, arrests for petty crimes such as fare jumping will likely skyrocket, further congesting the prison pipeline with poor people. And without the electronic layer of accountability a body camera provides, many riders will likely be targeted by NYPD officers looking to arrest fare jumpers who do not pay $2.75 for their ticket to board the train.
While we do not know if Napier ever possessed a weapon, we do know he was ultimately charged with fare evasion. Fare jumping costs NYC a reported $260 million yearly.
Scott Hechinger, who is a public defender in Brooklyn, did the math. Figuring the new 500 officers would get paid a little over $40k per year, the city is actually forking over $21.2 million to police the trains. Hechinger pointed out that, “If Governor instead redirected that budget to the 50k people arrested/ticketed in 2018, each could get $425 to afford (sic) subway.” Seems logical doesn’t it? Help the poor afford the fares instead of arresting the poor and jailing them for being too poor to get home.
He’s right you know. While we don’t advocate for government handouts, we do advocate for less cops. So, instead of criminalizing more individuals, placing the public in harms way when cops pull out their guns on the subway, government could pay it forward and help those who simply cannot help themselves.
In case you’re wondering how an arrest in NYC goes down. The guy has made absolutely no indication that he would flee or fight and wasn’t trying to hide.
If you can’t see, the reason everyone moved was because all the police had taken out their guns and aimed at him. pic.twitter.com/dAstrtMntz
— Elad Nehorai (@PopChassid) October 25, 2019