NYC: April 26: Our Subways Need Elevators, Not “Neighborhood Policing”

The People’s MTA

Our Subways Need Elevators,
Not ‘Neighborhood Policing’Protest the MTA:
Thursday, April 26 @ 6pm (new time)

City Museum of New York,
103rd Street & Fifth Avenue

Leaders with New York community groups have come out against Mayor DiBlasio’s announcement of neighborhood policing in the subway, arguing that the move is really an expansion of Broken Windows Policing.“All that means is that now cops who arrest Black people in the subway will be doing it while wearing baby blue jackets,” said Shannon Elayne, one of the principal organizers of SwipeItForward, a campaign designed to call attention to the racist character of “fare evasion” arrests, 90% of which are carried out against African American and Latinx riders.

Elayne’s police accountability group Why Accountability is also co-sponsoring, with The People’s MTA, next week’s protest at City Museum of New York, where MTA board members Joseph Lhota and Veronica Vanterpool will be speaking.

Facebook event page

Elayne’s “baby blue” reference was to the NYPD’s “Community Affairs” jackets, worn by police as part of its “Neighborhood Policing” program – which she and others feel do little more than give a false positive façade to racist harassment, arrests and killings. Much of this harassment comes in the form of subway arrests for turnstile jumping.

DiBlasio recently defended such arrests – claiming arrests for turnstile jumping is “not an economic issue” and that people who get arrested “have money in their pockets.”

The mayor’s press conference last week announced that the bogus “neighborhood policing” program would start in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The response from community leaders is negative.

“The NYPD is already targeting people of color,” said Imani Henry, a leader of the Brooklyn anti-gentrification group Equality for Flatbush. “The police are already occupying the subway. How is knowing a cop’s name going to help?”

“The city is making it a crime to be poor, instead of addressing the fact that riders can’t afford the fare,” Henry added.

“Our subways need elevators, and ones that work, not an expansion of discredited and racist Broken Windows policing,” said Mary Kaessinger, a wheelchair user and leader with The People’s MTA. “The subway is crumbling, with dramatically worsening performance. A transit worker recently died because of the rotting wooden infrastructure in the subway.”

“Millions are being spent on subway renovations with no plans for elevator or ramp installation,” Kaessinger said. “The city and the MTA are facing multiple lawsuits on these matters. Where is the press conference unveiling a plan for increased accessibility?”

“The true ‘theft of service’ that is actually draining money from public transit is the billion-dollar cost overruns for subway expansions, or the $7 million a day, amounting to hundreds of millons a year, that the MTA pays in interest to Wall Street – not people who can’t afford $2.75,” Kaessinger continued.

“If the city wants riders to be safe,” Kaessinger said, “it can get its MTA board members to call for the rehiring of laid-off transit workers and station agents. More eyes on the platform by workers who can help riders, with expertise and compassion – that’s what we really need!”


The People’s MTA  

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Learn why we do what we do:
The People’s MTA Champions System-Wide Subway Access for the DisabledTurnstile arrests target poor

Blacks#SwipeItForward gains steam