NYPD officers are facing backlash after a video showed at least 10 policemen ambush and pulled their guns on an unarmed Black teen on a crowded subway.
This past Friday, 19-year-old Adrian Napier was chased and ambushed on a 4-line subway car after he allegedly jumped a turnstile without paying in order to get away from police. Video shows the teen with his hands up while officers on and off the train had their guns drawn. The police entered the crowded train car with their guns drawn and tackled Napier to the ground, claiming they were concerned he might have been armed.
Several passengers scattered on the subway when they saw the police and took off running when the car doors opened. NYPD officers have reportedly been involved in at least 11 fatal shootings this year so far, Vice Media reports. The New York City Police Department said in a statement to NBC 4 New York that officers were responding to “an alert for a male with a gun,” based on witness reports around rush hour Friday. The New York City Police Department said in a statement to NBC 4 New York that officers were responding to “an alert for a male with a gun,” based on witness reports that were sent out Friday. Officers spoke to news outlets saying that when they approached Napier a few moments after the witness statements, he allegedly jumped a turnstile and boarded a southbound train. He was ultimately charged with theft of service, aka fare evasion.
The video of Napier went viral throughout the nation, only adding to the dead relationship between the police force and the public – in particular people of color. The city has been cracking down on fare evasion, which has prompted plans to hire 500 more transit officers who would police the city’s subway stations. The officers won’t be considered part of the New York Police Department, which means they’re not required to wear body cameras, according to Gothamist.
Since the footage went viral, many have spoken out over the counterproductive actions taken by the government in regard to combating fare evasion. “This man didn’t pay his subway fare—but is tackled by at least ten officers in a crowded station. Officers should be working to deescalate—not putting dozens of lives at risk over $2.75,” said Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro.
Another Twitter user wrote, “The NYPD has shot & killed 4 people in the last 10 days. Watch people in this subway car panic when police take out their guns & point them at a person they’re arresting. People aren’t scared of the person being arrested. They’re scared of the police.”