Close to 1,000 people marched through Downtown Brooklyn on Friday night to protest police brutality and a recent crackdown on fare evasion inside the subway system.
The peaceful action, organized by Decolonize This Place, took over major streets around the Barclays Center beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday. Demonstrators eventually made their way underground, jumping the turnstiles en masse at Hoyt–Schermerhorn while chanting: “How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D.”
“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
The “emergency action” comes in response to the MTA’s efforts to stop fare-beating, which have led to the deployment of 500 new subway cops across the transit system, among other deterrence measures. Two confrontations caught on video last weekend pushed that frustration to a “boiling point,” organizers said.
In the first instance, last Friday, police were seen pointing their guns at a crowded train car, before tackling 19-year-old Adrian Napier, who was believed to be in possession of a weapon. Napier, who had his hands up throughout the interaction, was found unarmed, and charged only with fare evasion.
A day later, cops responded to reports of a fight at Jay-Street—Metrotech. During a chaotic struggle, a police officer was caught on video punching two teenagers in the face, one of whom is now suing. The NYPD has declined to name the officers in either incident.
We are invincible together. This is how we win ✊🏽✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏿✊🏽✊🏿
Thousands of my NYC family protesting police violence to and criminalization of our people who can’t afford to pay subway fare by taking over the subway and not paying. Police had to give up.
— rafael (@rafaelshimunov) November 2, 2019
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
“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,” Amin Husain, an organizer with Decolonize This Place, told Gothamist. “It’s taking the form of fare evasion, and it’s bullshit.”
Napier and his mother were in attendance last night as well. The teenager “was forever transformed” by the arrest, according to Husain.
One person was arrested for making graffiti, and one person was issued a summons for spitting on a police officer, an NYPD spokesperson said.
Husain also noted that the protest’s tactics mirrored similar efforts seen in Chile, where demonstrations have exploded in the wake of a subway fare hike.
“You see all around the world similar things happening,” he said. “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.”
A spokesperson for the MTA did not respond to Gothamist’s request for comment.
Published at Sat, 02 Nov 2019 14:43:00 +0000