Buskers rally after subway arrest video inspires New Yorkers to jeer police

A NYPD officer looks into a train as he patrols the Times Square subway station in New York policeThe Guardian

Fellow musicians are rallying around a subway performer whose arrest in a busy station was captured on video as straphangers jeered the officer. The New York police department says it’s looking into the arrest.

Andrew Kalleen, 30, was performing Friday at the G-train stop in Brooklyn’s hipster Williamsburg neighborhood when an officer told him he must leave the station because he needs a permit to play there. The neighborhood is home to trendy boutiques and cafes patronized by ultrahip residents and tourists who flock there to experience Brooklyn life.  

“I’m not going to argue with you,” the officer says calmly.

Kalleen, also speaking evenly, refuses to leave and says he has a right to be there performing, then directs him to the section in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rules of conduct that say artistic performances and solicitation of donations are allowed.

The flustered officer reads the section aloud, as the watching straphangers clap, but then decides to eject Kalleen from the station.

The MTA does not issue permits, and the rules he read aloud are accurate. But the MTA rules differ from state law, which says entertainers can be arrested for loitering in a transportation facility unless they were specifically authorized to be there.

The video has been viewed nearly half a million times.

“Get your stuff, you’re leaving,” the officer says. Kalleen again refuses and begins to play Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here after asking whether anyone knows Free Bird.

The cop calls for backup while removing the guitar from Kalleen’s shoulders, who continues to sing.

“I’m being oppressed,” says the musician, who is wearing hot pink socks, no shoes, a jacket, tie and a fedora.

Meanwhile, straphangers taunt the officer and then begin to insult him and ask whether there are more serious crimes he should be policing.

Kalleen was arrested on a charge of loitering as he sang Neil Young’s protest anthem Ohio.

NYPD spokesman Steve Davis said Tuesday that the department is investigating the matter. The video was posted online and has been viewed more than 450,000 times.

Buskers planned a protest for later Tuesday.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/21/new-york-busker-video-viral-nypd-arrest-musician

3 thoughts on “Buskers rally after subway arrest video inspires New Yorkers to jeer police

  1. The article doesn’t tell us what the hell a “Busker” is.

    “The neighborhood is home to trendy boutiques and cafes patronized by ultrahip residents and tourists who flock there to experience Brooklyn life.”

    I’m sorry, but Williamsburg is definitely NOT Brooklyn life.

  2. It is good to see the cop booed. He may if booed enough dawn on him the police can only oporate with public suport. So he probably made a good arest. But the loss of public suport in the future. Is such worth the arrest? Something officers should think about before they are shoveled into there patrol vehicles at the start of the day.

  3. New York City’s finest, my @ss. At least this subway performer didn’t meet NYC’s worst; they would have busted his guitar over his head even if there were onlookers.

    I worked in NYC in the latter 1970’s when the Transit Patrol cops were a lot more tolerant (before 911) . The only time a Transit cop would get rough is when someone jumped the turnstile without paying their token.

    This cop will be recognized and jeered everywhere he goes on his flatfoot beat . I expect him to be relocated, perhaps to the monkey house at the Brooklyn Zoo.

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