Public outcry has emerged after cell phone footage captured four New York City police officers tackling a single Black man to the ground because he was accused of illegally selling candy on a Harlem subway platform.
According to The New York Post, on Tuesday evening, candy vendor Byron Shark, 26, was filmed lying on the floor of the subway station while the officers attempted to handcuff him.
In the clip which was posted on Twitter by a member of the activist movement Decolonize This Place, onlookers can be heard shouting at cops, pleading for them to stop, while Shark’s legs flail in distress.
— DecolonizeThisPlace (@decolonize_this) November 13, 2019
“He did not do nothing,” a woman screams.
Another man can shouts, “Y’all n—as is bugging, bro.”
A third bystander then accuses the officers of failing to read man his rights.
In response to the public’s accusation of brutality, Wednesday, NYPD Transit responded with a tweet of their own stating, “Our officers took this man into custody after he failed to comply and refused to provide identification as they attempted to issue him a summons for a transit violation. He was arrested and charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration.”
Decolonize This Place pushed back by stating, “Increased police presence and ramped issuing of fines is an unacceptable war on the poor, largely IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Color). It’s also an MTA predatory revenue generator like traffic tickets to pay bills. We demand: 1. NYPD OUT OF THE SUBWAY 2. FREE TRANSIT 3. END OF VENDOR HARASSMENT”
NYPD Transit made no comments on those demands but during an interview with NBC New York, they maintained that Shark resisted when officers tried to arrest him for peddling and therefore they were forced to bring him to the ground.
The NYPD and the city’s subway system have been the subject of controversy lately due to arrests for fare jumping that have brought criticism of the department. Earlier this month, Decolonize This Place led a protest in which nearly a thousand people jumped the turnstile entrances to the subway in defiance of the police crackdown, according to hyperlocal news website Gothamist.
That followed a brawl caught on video between a group of teens and NYPD officers that resulted in an apparently innocent young man being punched in the face by one of the cops during the skirmish.