Video of churro vendor being handcuffed by police at Brooklyn subway station sparks outrage

1010 WINS Newsroom
November 10, 2019 - 1:42 pm
Churro vendor arrested

@SofiaBNewman/Twitter

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Video of a woman being handcuffed for selling churros at a Brooklyn subway station has been viewed millions of times—and led to outrage about the way she was treated by NYPD officers.

The woman was cuffed at the Broadway Junction station in East New York on Friday night.

Video taken by Sofia Newman shows the exchange between the woman and several police officers. In the video, the woman can be seen crying as she speaks with police.

As Newman recorded the video, she also questioned the officers.

“Why are you taking her s--- away? She’s crying,” Newman can be heard saying.

“You’re taking her s--- away. She’s crying. Can you just like let her keep her stuff?” she says.

“It’s illegal to sell food inside the subway station and we warned her multiple times,” an officer tells her.

“Can she just go outside and keep her stuff?” Newman responds.

“No,” the officer says.

The officers eventually handcuffed the woman, confiscated her cart and took her to the transit police office at the station. She was soon released with a summons.

“You’re literally doing this right now. Are you f------ kidding me?” Newman says as the officers lead the woman away. “She’s f------ powerless right now, you a-------.”

Selling food is banned on the subway without permission from the MTA.

Police said the woman has been issued 10 summonses over the last five months for unlicensed vending at the same station. They said they’ve gotten numerous complaints about her.

But many on Twitter said the way the woman was treated by the officers was demeaning. They say the incident shows police criminalize people for being poor.

Local leaders have responded too. Council Speaker Corey Johnson denounced the actions of the officers.

“Over-policing our subways isn’t going to solve anything,” he wrote on Twitter. “We can keep the subway safe without harming people just trying to earn a living.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer tweeted that “this kind of enforcement doesn’t make anyone safer.”

“Another incident that raises serious questions about the increased police presence in our subways,” Stringer wrote.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also made his voice heard, tweeting that “this petty infraction of the rules shouldn’t have led to an arrest.”

“Had responding officers been able to overcome the language barrier, this situation could possibly have been resolved. We are showing our failure to police in an increasingly multilingual city,” Adams wrote.

A city public defender called the incident “heartbreaking.”

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