Around 1,000 protesters marched through downtown Brooklyn Friday alleging police brutality in the subways. They chanted familiar slogans — “No justice, no peace/F – – k these racist police,” and called for violence. Choruses of “punch a cop in the face/every nation, every race,” were echoed by large banners reading, “Ante Up! Punch that cop!” Cop cars were tagged “NYPD KKK,” and eggs and garbage were thrown at a police cruiser.
The “#FTP” (f - - k the police) action was inspired by two recent incidents where police made arrests on subway platforms. In one, an early-morning melee spilled underground, and cops were filmed using force to break up the fighting and subdue people resisting arrest; one teen shoved a cop and was punched in the face; he’s suing the city for $5 million.
In another, police swarmed Adrian Napier, whom they believed was carrying a gun; they found no weapon but arrested him for jumping the turnstile. The incident, captured on video, received national attention.
“Officers should be working to de-escalate,” former HUD Secretary Julian Castro commented, “not putting dozens of lives at risk over $2.75.” But Napier was apprehended after fleeing the police and escaping into the subway; his arrest was not precipitated by jumping a turnstile.
These incidents took place in the context of a campaign against fare evasion, which has accelerated dramatically following the announcement that local prosecutors would no longer pursue “theft of service” charges against arrestees. Arrests for turnstile-jumping are down about 40 percent since last year. The NYPD now largely writes tickets for the violation, reserving arrest for serial evaders.
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