Coronavirus

NYPD Cops, Some Without Masks, Detain Small Boy for Being Alone on Subway. His Parents Were in the Next Car.

City officials have asked NYPD to reduce arrests since there's a global pandemic happening. The commissioner said he'd do no such thing.

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A video from a New York City subway platform shows a contentious moment that calls into question the New York Police Department's (NYPD) policing priorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Portions of the interaction, which occurred at Harlem's 145th Street stop on April 10 at 7 p.m., were captured by bystander Shaquan Jenkins via cellphone.

The video shows a group of NYPD officers holding onto the arms of a young boy. Bystanders in the background shout "that's a little boy" and accuse the officers of detaining the boy simply for selling candy and snacks on the train. As the video continues, a woman can be heard in the background identifying herself as the young boy's mother and telling officers to let him go. The young, crying boy struggles under the grasp of one of the officers.

Only some of the officers present are wearing personal protective equipment like masks.

Follow-up footage, which was shared by defense attorney Rebecca Kavanagh, shows the NYPD carrying the young boy out of the station and arresting an adult man who reportedly tried to come to the young boy's defense. It appears the man was the boy's stepfather.

Jenkins tells Reason via phone he was getting on the train when he first saw the young boy make an announcement about food he was selling. About two stops later, officers became involved. (The subsequent interaction was recorded on camera.) Jenkins says that the mother and stepfather identified themselves to officers. When officers wouldn't listen, Jenkins says the parents attempted to yank the young boy away. The stepfather was then arrested.

A spokesperson for the NYPD tells Reason the young boy was detained for being on his own, not for selling food. According to a statement from the department, a train conductor informed authorities that they saw a young boy "exiting and re-entering train cars over the course of several stations." When officers found the young boy, he told them that the parents were on a different part of the train.

"The child became uncooperative and upset, and for the child's safety, the officers physically restrained him," the statement reads. It alleges officers located the young boy's mother and stepfather several cars away and that the parents were uncooperative, demanding their son's release.

The family was instead escorted off the subway platform toward Transit District 3 station. While en route, the stepfather was arrested after he "confronted, and physically impeded officers." After arriving at the station, officers conferred with child protective services right and prepared two reports: one for a domestic incident and one for suspected child abuse and/or maltreatment. The stepfather was issued a court summons for disorderly conduct.

The young boy's mother, Alia, identified herself on Twitter, writing that their family is homeless and that her son was selling food out of necessity. Alia's tweet caught the eye of Janos Marton, a civil rights attorney who is now representing the family.

Marton says that the video "clearly shows" that the parents were in the vicinity of their son. At the time police became involved, the family was in the neighboring subway car.

"This whole family has been put through an enormous strain through this instant and right now they are weighing all their possible options."

As COVID-19 spreads through the country, many judges have sought out ways to minimize the risks to corrections facilities, including trying to keep low-level, nonviolent offenders out of the system altogether. Officials in New York City, which currently has over 120,000 COVID-19 cases, have called on the NYPD to modify its policing of low-level offenses in order to reduce crowding in jails. NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea responded by saying the NYPD has no intention of reducing enforcement.

Though the NYPD may be refusing to reduce arrests amid a pandemic, officers could have exercised more discretion in this interaction. There appears to have been some initial misunderstanding, but the officers still chose to forcibly restrain a distraught young boy to the point of pulling his jacket off and keeping him in their custody even after his parents identified themselves—all while possibly jeopardizing the health of the boy, his family, and others in close proximity.

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  1. Uncooperative. There’s your problem.

    1. If you’re not licking their boots immediately you are being uncooperative or worse. The kid’s lucky they didn’t start screaming “stop resisting” and kill him.

      1. The number of bootlicking “libertarians” never ceases to amaze…

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  2. …arresting an adult man who reportedly tried to come to the young boy’s defense. … You do not have a right to self defense against NYPD.

  3. There appears to have been some initial misunderstanding, but the officers still chose to forcibly restrain a distraught young boy to the point of pulling his jacket off… … NYPD are not claw hammers. They don’t turn around and pull nails out after they’ve been improperly pounded.

    1. You know who else was improperly pounded?

      1. Tara Reade?

        1. Good one…

  4. “and for the child’s safety, the officers physically restrained him” It’s comforting to know in these times of crisis that our betters in government are still looking out for our safety

    1. Another case of NYC’s degenerate homeless peddling bullshit on the train and then complaining when the police get involved. I have no sympathy. The subway is not a moving bazaar for traveling merchants, aggressive panhandlers, or a skid row on wheels. Good riddance.

      1. So you don’t believe in the free market.

        1. If stealing food and merchandise and forcing your kids to sell it on the subway to feed your drug habits is free market … then, no.

          1. Do. . .do we know that’s what was going on?

            1. Yes, we do know that. Not beyond reasonable doubt, but with enough certainty to justify the NYPD’s actions.

              1. I agree, Milhouse, we should ALWAYS trust the police. Even when they’re wrong they’re RIGHT. I don’t care about no due process for a bunch of niggers and I know you don’t either.

              2. Jesus I hope you never serve on a jury. Unfortunately there are 10’s of millions of your kind that do.

            2. If you spend any time in NYC, you would realize very quickly that shit like this exceedingly common. These are not civil libertarians flooding the subways eager to make an honest back with their bare hands and entrepreneurial spirit. The subways are flooded with drug addicts, vagrants, and the mentally ill, and there are few lows to which their are not willing to stoop, including exploiting their own children.

              But I guess, fuck it. Freedom is freedom. Sending your kids to panhandle among complete strangers in the subways is apparently the fundamental core of libertarianism.

              1. Yes, freedom means tolerating people you don’t like in public spaces. If you can’t handle that, the concept of freedom is not for you.

                1. You forget the part of the story where a child is being pressed into service to solicit money from people all by himself by his parents. Shocker…the police stepped in.

                  1. Oh and did I mention that we are in a time of social distancing? It wouldn’t shock me if passengers summoned the police because a random child was approaching strangers when he should be keeping his distance.

                    1. If that was the case, wouldn’t it have been mentioned in the police statement? They are pretty good at covering their asses without you making up new excuses for them.

                2. Shut up liberal.

          2. Geraje Guzba might be the furthest from a libertarian we’ve ever had here.

            1. I’ve made clear on many occasions I am not a libertarian and yet leftists twats like you are constantly surprised when I don’t reflexively endorse de facto anarchy and the elevation of degenerates to martyrs.

              1. Geraje Guzba isn’t libertarian! He is Gasbag Blowhard!

                Gasbag Blowhard,
                Please listen!
                You don’t know,
                What you’re missing!
                Donald’s ass, don’t be kissin’!
                Trump won’t love you,
                He’ll push and shove you!
                He’ll take your vote,
                Then call you a goat!
                He’ll tax your money,
                Then steal your Honey!
                Your pussy, He will grab,
                Your back, He will stab!
                His-victims-routines, He’s iterating,
                Shit about YOU, He’ll be Twitterating!

                1. This is what happens when you attempt suicide by way of autoerotic asphyxiation but are rescued at the last possible second by the developmentally stunted daughter you’ve been raping in your basement for the past twelve years.

                  Die, Hihn.

                  1. It’s not Hihn! It doesn’t know how to boldface, and never sneers.

                    It’s just another spongiform encephalopathy-infected troll.

              2. Then what the fuck you are doing here? Why are you annoying us with your authoritarian tendencies? Go back to breitbart.

            2. And you’re the furthest thing from a PATRIOT we’ve ever had here!!!

      2. It’s moving, it’s bizarre, it’s the subway so you are incorrect there.

      3. I’m with you Geraje, I hate niggers too.

  5. You know, abducting children isn’t a good look for the NYPD. Nor is threatening the parents with CPS for trying to get their kid back.

    1. I don’t think the NYPD gives a fuck about “a good look.” They are the king’s men. Comply or die.

      1. They’re a criminal gang. They don’t care about the king, either.

    2. You know what else isn’t a good look? A parent pressing their small child into peddling chips on a train alone. They should call CPS…if that kid had been abducted or raped or something everyone woul have been saying “WHERE WERE THE POLICE?!?!?!?!?”

      1. You’re so good with predictions, can I have next week’s lottery numbers please?

        1. And you are so good with snarky but empty replies. Go ahead give us another comment with no content.

  6. Did anybody bother to ask if those two adults were actually the child’s parents or legal guardians? Did anybody bother to ask how they obtained “food” to sell, when they are allegedly homeless and starving? This is a disgusting ploy and it very common in NYC among the “homeless” who need a little cash here and there to feed their pill and/or heroin addiction. T

    There are so many programs available for needy families that you really have to question the motives of people that send their children out to peddle stolen candy on the subway. Don’t be so naïve, Reason.

    1. some people may want to provide a service with their own labor to get by instead of accepting the handouts you are referring to.

      it’s possible that the merch was stolen, and then I’d be against them too. but you just made that part up. there’s no evidence beyond your own bias that they were doing anything wrong.

      1. This is common in NYC. If they aren’t selling stolen shit outright, they run in large crews organized by criminals that recruit children to sell candy, or whatever else, often with a bullshit story about supporting their local basketball team. I’ve seen it all, as have millions of other New Yorker’s that are sick of it.

        And, I guess hanging out on the subway all day and forcing your child to panhandle is “providing a service with their own labor”?

        Get out of here.

        1. yep. I live in Chicago. I see it all the time too. and I don’t buy the candy. but some people do, and they like the convenience.

          I’ve never wanted them arrested. certainly not without evidence of a crime.

          (I sold a ton of shit as a kid, but it was usually to the benefit of my school, or a giant corporation like boy scouts of America. I guess selling shit to support your destitute family must be a lot less fulfilling and more evil somehow)

          1. Pull on the thread, and you will find children being exploited by criminals, or young criminals in the making. And, again, what kind of parents permit their kids to panhandle on a subway car? That kind of thing is regulated in NYC transit hubs, and for good reason.

            The subway is not a bazaar on wheels. If the laws weren’t enforced, the subways in NYC would like open air markets in a Moroccan alley; and they are already quite close. It’s a public transportation system; the purpose is transportation. I have no problem with police enforcing these laws to keep the subway system from turning into a city wide skid row.

            And, again, there is an overabundance of programs available for the destitute and homeless. Nobody has to starve, nobody has to exploit their kids, which is exactly what was happening here.

            1. yeah, we’d all be a lot freer if the poors would just go on the dole like they are supposed to.

              definitely the most libertarian solution.

              1. Yea, we’d all be a lot freer is the poor and homeless flooded the streets and set up medieval encampments in the center of cities where rape, drug addiction, disease, child exploitation, and chaos are the new rules.

                Libertarian solutions don’t work because the real world exists.

                1. have fun rolling out your death squads to take care of those you think of as undesirable. Your jackboots fitting well today?

                2. So the only thing between us and these midieval encampments full of rape and disease is… The government?

                  I don’t know what public schools you went to, but damn, they did their job.

            2. STFU

              You created an entire new story, based on evidence you just made up, to justify actions by the NYPD that appear unreasonable.

              Unless you have ACTUAL EVIDENCE rather that shit you just made up, STFU.

  7. It’s a crime being Black in the age of COVID=19. The cops were just making sure the boy understood that.

    Besides, right thinking people don’t sell candy on trains. Right thinking people stay home they were told, and order their stuff from online, and praise their lefty governor for keeping them safe. Right thinking people don’t worry about their income because their husbands have essential jobs with the government. It’s all a staycation for everyone except the poor Blacks who aren’t thinking rightly. Maybe some reeducation camps will help.

    1. Cops were black ….

      1. Good point. We can’t let racism be used as a boogeyman distraction from the real problem, statism.

      2. Sometimes that’s worse…

    2. Yeah I always love that…if the cops are white its racist. If the cops are black it even….worse?!?!? So basically there is no defense to racism…its everywhere all the time and bad acts can be dismissed simply because the other person is a racist whether they are white, black or otherwise. Thats certainly a convenient defense. I did something stupid or bad…you called me out for it….so you are a racist and shut up about it because you aren’t allowed to try and offer a common sense defense.

  8. “There appears to have been some initial misunderstanding”

    Yep. There sure was. Cops are always right, especially when they are wrong. Pointing it out when they are wrong guarantees a forceful response, because that is questioning their authority which is absolute.

    1. No actually, there was no initial misunderstanding. The parents left a child that was too young to be wandering alone on a train. They made it even worse by pressing that child into hocking chips to strangers. Then instead of the parents owning up to this they scream nothing but thats my child over and over again at the police.

  9. Truncheons and tasers not enough government agents are now using forced exposure to contagions as another weapon of the state.

  10. which was shared by defense attorney Rebecca Kavanagh

    Unfortunately we can’t trust this woman unless she’s able to tell us everything she did during the summer of 1982.

    1. She raped me! I never told anyone because of the shame and stigma.

  11. I really enjoy the long-running TV series, Blue Bloods. It shows a police commissioner and a department of caring, dedicated cops protecting a city of 8+ million citizens.

    It’s also a wonderful example of how entertainment bears zero relation to reality.

  12. She raped me! I never told anyone because of the shame and stigma.

  13. I don’t really see an issue with this event…why is this even on the Reason.com website? A boy who is apparently too young to be on the train alone is rescued by police officer as he is in in the midst of being used by his parents to illicit funds from random strangers all by himself. To make matters worse instead of trusting the police, his parents have clearly made him scared of the police. Then instead of having a normal convo with the cops she just screams thats my son at them a dozen times, How about a simply officer thats my son what is the problem. Of course she knows the problem is…so her only option is to immediately start screaming thats my son thats my son over and over again. How is this a libertarian issue???

    1. The MTA does not prohibit children from riding the subway alone. Nice that you have teamed up with the police to invent a new rule, though.

      1. Well…there you going spreading misinformation. Actually under 8 they are not allowed to ride without a parent. 8-12 they can ride with a “responsible youth” which means a child over 12, and children over age 12 can ride alone. There…you learned something today free of charge. Stop spreading meanness and misinformation please.

    2. If you aren’t scared of the police then you have never been arrested.

  14. Forgetting the times and the kid was violating ‘social distancing’ by walking among several cars, in what world do the parents just let the child roam like that. How much police manpower would have been used up if the kid had been molested, abducted or worse? I’ve seen plenty of cases of police over-reach, but this isn’t one of them.

    1. Right? More to the point these same people that are pissed that the cops stepped in to see what the deal was with this little kid wandering on his own, they would be asking questions like “where were the cops when this kid was molested? probably out eating a donut” or something to that effect. Not all police are good guys but videos like this only serve to remind me that many of them actually are. Keep up the good work NYPD.

  15. “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs

    1. Its an interesting, but flawed concept. The problem is that people like Mr. Higgs forgets that the experiment has already been conducted over hundreds of years…and the result was that police are the lesser of the evils. So it holds true that the concept of a police department is still the even if no one single apple is rotten the entire barrel is bad. However your paraphrase leaves out the context of the argument which is actually just the opposite. That even though there are certainly some good cops, it matters not because just them being part of the police system is bad.

  16. Why the hell would anyone want to live in N.Y.!

    “Only a Carpathian would come back now and choose NEW YORK!”

  17. Organized crime is rampant in NYC.

    They tried to cut back on it, but the NYPD Police Union files grievances.

  18. That’s what you get for living in NYC

  19. Convenient the father being arrested after “interfering” is not on video.

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