In a video uploaded to YouTube on Saturday, Lawrence and Leigh musician Andrew Kalleen is seen being assaulted and arrested by NYPD- even after knowing his rights and proving to the officer that he had not broken any laws.
The video, which was filmed at the Lorimer Street/Metropolitan Avenue station around 1:30 am on Friday, begins with Kalleen already explaining to the officer that he is not breaking any laws.
Infact, he 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. He has previously only received tickets- which he is also fighting through a Civilian Complaint Review Board investigation.
The officer continues to claim that he cannot play on the platform unless he has a permit, to which Kalleen asserts that he is incorrect. The officer demands he put down his guitar or be subject to arrest.
The officer then searches for the law on his cellphone, and reads out loud just how mistaken he was.
Section 1050.6c of the MTA’s “Rules of Conduct“states:
Except as expressly permitted in this subdivision, no person shall engage in any nontransit uses upon any facility or conveyance. Nontransit uses are noncommercial activities that are not directly related to the use of a facility or conveyance for transportation. The following nontransit uses are permitted by the Authority, provided they do not impede transit activities and they are conducted in accordance with these rules: public speaking; campaigning; leafletting or distribution of written noncommercial materials; activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration; artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations.
Applause breaks out among the on lookers as the clearly confused cop finishes reading.
In typical NYPD fashion, this officer is not about to let some silly little thing like the law get in his way.
As Kalleen gears up to get back to performing for his adoring crowd, the officer begins yelling about how he is being kicked out of the platform, and must leave, either “by force” or on his own.
The officer begins to get more agitated, calls for backup, and walks away. Kalleen stands his ground and refuses to leave and starts to play Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here,’ to a round of applause.
The Officer comes back, slaps his hand off of the guitar and removes it, yet Kalleen keeps singing- finishing up the song to another large round of applause.
Still refusing to back down and admit he was wrong, the officer is then scolded and questioned by the witnesses of this insane harassment.
The rights-defending musician begins to play another song, causing the severely frustrated cop to call over another officer, before bashing Kalleen in the face with his guitar and handcuffing him.
“That song I start singing at the end, Ohio by Neil Young, is about the Kent State shootings. Maybe you know. That was 45 years ago now. There was a lot of momentum back then. I know this is nothing compared to that, but it is still an absolutely absurd occurrence. I want to inspire momentum.”
Kalleen told The Free Thought Project.
The crowd boo’s, and screams of “fuck the police” echoed through the platform as he is dragged away.
We spoke with Kalleen to find out what happened next.
“While we were riding in the car back to the precinct, the officer was frantically looking through his phone for something to charge me with.” he explained.
They ended up charging him under Penal law 240.35 06, loitering for the purposes of entertainment unless otherwise authorized, Kalleen argues that 1050.6c gives him authorization.
“As far as a statement I’d say not to put all the blame on the cop. This is a symptom of a much larger problem.
It is everyone’s responsibility to move our society’s values to a mindset where this sort of thing is unthinkable. We need to recognize that we have allowed ourselves to continue to live in a police state.” he told us.
We asked him if he had any recommendations for what he believes people should be doing to combat the police state.
“One thing that everyone (who’s interested) can do is to keep in conversation about the things that need to change. Practice within your circles where you feel safe, but then expand out so that your ideas can spread. And be respectful of others’ points of view. Persuade people to see your side (if your theories are sound this should work), don’t chastise them for thinking otherwise. Because essentially I think as a culture we need an entire mindset overhaul—in some areas—on what is valuable in this life, how to respect each other’s right to be, and what it means to really own the title ‘land of the free.'”
Kalleen continued on to say,
“And ‘keep in conversation’ sounds a bit platitudinous, but if you take it seriously, do it with intention, and with the goal of changing your world, it can be extremely powerful. You might find yourself in a situation like I was, and it is nice to have practiced what to say and how to say it.“
Visit BuskNY for more information on your rights or to find help if you have been arrested while performing in NYC.
For more of Kalleen’s work check out this awesome video-