New York, NY-- In the early morning of October 18th, musician Andrew Kalleen was assaulted and arrested by the NYPD for simply playing a song, even after the officer read the law out loud and verified Kalleen was not breaking any laws.
In the video, which quickly went viral, Kalleen cites the exact law the officer needs to look up to prove he was well within his rights. Kalleen has become well versed with this law, as he informed us that this is at least the 6th time he has been asked to stop. The officer reads the law out loud, but is unphased and continues his harassment.
Kalleen was ultimately arrested, and screams of “f*ck the police” echoed through the platform as he was dragged away.
Since the incident, the NYPD have repeatedly lied in statements about the arrest.
"This incident has also exposed a lack of integrity in the NYPD extending above the streets. When the Gothamist first broke the story, they quoted an NYPD saying I was “a ‘transit recidivist,’ which the spokesperson explained as someone having an open ticket or warrant, perhaps related to turnstile jumping or a similar offense.” However, I was released with a DAT, which can only happen after they’ve sent my information to Albany, making sure I have no open warrants in the entire country. And when the story made national news a few days after the incident, CBS quoted the NYPD as saying the charges had been dropped. I’ve been to the court house four times now. The first two times I was called in for my hearing, only to be told my paperwork had not been filed by the police. I’ve gone in twice since to check the status and mailed a letter to the DA. The charges have not been dropped; they just won’t file the paperwork for some reason, and I have to keep checking in with it to make sure it doesn’t eventually get filed and I end up with a warrant for my arrest. So in both these cases the NYPD is clearly giving false information, demonstrating their concern is for how they are perceived, not for actually doing right by someone they’ve wronged." Kalleen wrote.
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Now, several months later, the musician has put out a video to announce he will be filing a lawsuit against the department. He has also vowed to donate any money he receives back into the community.
"It is for this reason that I have decided to donate any money I receive through litigation for this incident. I will be filing a lawsuit, and the lawyers I’ve talked to have said that with such clear video evidence for my case, it’s likely I’ll be getting not a huge amount, but in the thousands and potentially tens of thousands of dollars for the assault, wrongful arrest, and jail time. I want to put it back into Bed-Stuy. This community has felt the brunt of police misconduct in ways I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate. And if money is being doled out for misconduct it feels best to me that it goes towards vitalizing this community. When the case is over I’ll make an announcement of how much and where the money will go. At this time I’m leaning towards Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration." Kalleen wrote in a written statement accompanying the video.
"The people of the world need to unite around something, why not freedom? Let us ask ourselves: What does it mean to be free? What keeps us from being there? How can we achieve freedom and help others to be free as well? Many people still look to America and the City of New York specifically as examples of freedom. This video is not the message we want to send to the world." he continued.
You can follow Andrew on Tumblr as he continues his efforts to make the world a better place.