Los Angeles, CA — Dramatic footage has just been released showing 18-year-old Bethany Nava, a West Hollywood resident, getting arrested for having her foot on the subway seat in front of her. According to the Facebook live video, Nava was riding the Red Line Metrorail when the confrontation with police occurred.
An unnamed LAPD officer, a sergeant, had reportedly asked Nava to remove her foot from an adjoining seat but she didn’t immediately comply. “It doesn’t matter. You’re getting off the train right now. I already told you what to do but you disobeyed me,” he told her in a normal voice. He then ordered her to stand up and told her she would be getting off the train at the next stop. “I paid to be on the train, asshole!” Nava told the officer as he laid his hands on her and pushed her off the train.
”I’m 18. He’s taking me off the train for having my foot on the fucking seat,” she told the person recording. The officer whose badge number is 5203, was then surrounded by concerned citizens who accused him of abusing his badge and being on a power trip.
”You’re a fucking scumbag,” said Selena Lechuga, a concerned citizen who came to Nara’s defense and calling into question the officer’s actions in forcing the teenager off the train. “You’re impeding my investigation. Back away,” he told Lechuga.
During the altercation, Nara attempted to flex her rights when the sergeant asked her for her ID. “I was on my way to the DMV. I have to meet my mother to get my ID. Cause I just turned 18. This is not fucking fair that you took me off the train because I had my foot there because I was comfortable like that. There is no law that tells me that I cannot sit that way because I PAID TO BE IN THERE!” Nara screamed. “It’s the rules of the train,” the officer stated.
“What’s the fucking rules of the train,” she asked. Both Nara and Lechuga asked the officer to provide the rules of the train for them to read. “I don’t have any fucking ID I was about to go to the DMV to get it…I should not be going to jail right now!” she exclaimed.
“I don’t have any form of ID. I don’t have any drugs. I don’t have anything that you can arrest me for! My foot was on a chair…what kind of fucking conflicts do you have that you need to take me off the train that I paid for,” she asked. “Nobody was trying to sit in the chair.”
Soon after, backup officers arrived. Instead of questioning the validity of the arrest, they promptly placed the two ladies in handcuffs and carted them off to jail.
According to CBS News LA, both women were cited for disorderly conduct on the train. However, that charge is now being called into question. One could argue the entire incident was started when the police officer escalated the conflict by demanding Nara forfeit her fare and leave the train. It was then and only then when tempers began to flare and choice words were used.
While the officer appeared to just be doing his job, how he handled it will likely be seen as professional by supporters of law enforcement, and abusive by freedom loving citizens. Perusing through YouTube one can find a myriad of videos where citizens claim to have been harassed while riding the Metro.
It’s unclear exactly how Nara was sitting which prompted the officer to remove her from the train, but de-escalation techniques could have been implemented. The entire incident may serve to illustrate just how easy it is to become a criminal in LA. Sitting on the seat incorrectly can now get you arrested.