A viral video of a Latina being handcuffed by multiple officers for selling churros at a train station in Brooklyn has left New Yorkers outraged and talking about a growing issue of over-policing.
In the widely circulated Twitter video, which was captured by New York-based actress Sofia B. Newman, viewers see a middle-aged woman in tears as three white NYPD officers and a man in civilian attire impugn and handcuff her before escorting her out of the station and taking her churro 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
According to Newman’s thread, the unidentified woman was given the option to give up her cart and pay a fine or be arrested. She replied in Spanish and appeared to not understand what the officers were saying. Rather than asking someone to translate, one of the cops said, “I know you can speak English.”
The video has left New Yorkers angry about the recurring issue of over-policing. The incident comes less than two weeks after hundreds of demonstrators protested Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s increased funding for policing after a video showed cops pointing a gun at a 19-year-old Black man on a crowded train for failing to pay the $2.75 fare.
While overall subway crime in New York has declined in 2019, reports of rapes and murders are on the rise. Instead of law enforcement focusing their energy on putting an end to these gruesome crimes, New Yorkers have witnessed multiple examples of excessive policing against low-income communities of color guilty of low-level offenses.
“We can keep the subway safe without harming people just trying to earn a living,” city council speaker Corey Johnson said of the incident on Twitter.
New York City comptroller Scott M. Stringer felt similarly, writing, “Another incident that raises serious questions about the increased police presence in our subways.”
While the woman was ultimately uncuffed and released, her churro cart is still in police custody.