New York, NY — In the Land of the Free, if you do not pay the state before you attempt to sell a product or service to a willing customer, you can and will be extorted, kidnapped and caged, with extreme prejudice. A video posted to Twitter over the weekend backs up this notion, showing an otherwise entirely innocent woman's arrest for selling churros to willing customers in a New York City subway.
The video was recorded by a vigilant bystander, Sofia Newman, who knew she was witnessing an injustice. The infuriating video shows four cops dispatched to take the woman out for selling the churros without first paying the state for the privilege of doing so.
"Tonight as I was leaving Broadway Junction, I saw three or four police officers (one of them was either a plainclothes cop or someone who worked at the station) gathered around a crying woman and her churro cart. Apparently, it's illegal to sell food inside train stations," Newman wrote on Twitter.
In the video, we can hear Newman ask the "hero" cops why they are kidnapping the crying woman. The officer responded by saying that selling food in the Subway is illegal. Instead of simply telling the woman to move her operation out of the subway, the cops chose to kidnap her.
"Can she just go outside and keep her stuff?" Newman asked.
"No," the officer said.
"They were telling her that she could either give them her churro cart and receive a fine (one that she probably wouldn't have been able to afford), or that they would take her cart and arrest her," Newman explained.
They arrested her.
Newman also said that the cops even mocked her and one rolled his eyes as she tried to speak Spanish to another officer.
"She kept trying to speak to one of the cops in Spanish, but the plainclothes cop kept rolling his eyes and saying things like, 'Are you done?' and 'I know you can speak English.' Eventually, they cuffed her and unceremoniously dragged her and her cart away," Newman wrote.
As the video shows, the crying woman is handcuffed and hauled away like some criminal, and taken to jail — for selling churros.
Recommended for You
"No matter what the law says, there is no reason why that many officers needed to encircle, demean, and police the poverty of that woman of color," Newman wrote. "It was an abuse of power, and yet another example of how broken our system is."
The NYPD is standing by their decision to kidnap the woman for selling churros, claiming they received several complaints about unlicensed vendors in the Broadway Junction. Apparently, police want us to believe that citizens checked the vendors for licenses before making a complaint about it.
Police said they brought the woman to the station where they seized, or rather stole, all of her churros and her cart, as "evidence."
Now, this woman, who was likely already struggling to get by will be swamped in court fees and fines. Because police confiscated her means of making an income, she will have a very hard time attempting to pay for her extortion and her chances of ending up in jail for non-payment have now skyrocketed. Good job, NYPD.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer tweeted Newman's video on Saturday and pointed out the ridiculous nature of cops arresting a woman for churros.
"This kind of enforcement doesn't make anyone safer," Stringer wrote.
Sadly, this is one of many incidents in which people trying to earn a few bucks have been attacked or otherwise kidnapped by police ‘protecting society.’
In May of last year, the Alameda County Sheriff’s department posted a photo of a deputy arresting a man for selling fruits and vegetables on the roadside and attempted to justify the arrest. When people read the department’s justification, they lashed out — peacefully — to let them know what they were doing is wrong.
The following June, a 38-year-old homeless man was attempting to earn some honest money by providing a much-desired service to the residents of Kennewick, Washington when he was threatened with extortion and arrest by the local police department, which effectively ended his enterprise. After the Kennewick Police Department threatened the homeless man and prevented him from making a living, they took to Facebook to shamelessly brag about it.
It's not just people selling food either. As TFTP reported on Monday, cops will arrest you for eating food too.