Outrage After Video Captures Police Arresting Candy Vendor In Subway

Kevin Rincon
November 14, 2019 - 4:58 pm
MTA Police

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Commuters expressed frustration with the MTA police force on Thursday after video surfaced showing another subway vendor being arrested for selling candy bars.

The footage posted to Twitter showed several officers attempting to arrest a man selling candy at the 125th Street subway station in Harlem on Tuesday.

Officers can be seen trying to handcuff 26-year-old Bryon Shark as he lays on the ground while onlookers scream at police, saying the man did nothing wrong.

Police say Shark repeatedly refused to hand over his identification when stopped by police officers.

The situation then escalated and Shark was eventually placed in handcuffs and charged with obstructing governmental administration and violation of local law.

Some immediately took issue with the incident, which occurred on the heels of the arrest of a churro vendor in Brooklyn this week.

Still, Police Commissioner James O’Neill stood by officers.

“I spent time as a transit cop and I know people need to feel safe in the subway,” he said. “You think, ‘Well someone selling candy, what does that have to do with safety? Somebody selling churros, what does that have to do with safety?’”

The commissioner, who will soon be stepping down, adds that it boils down to New Yorkers following the rules on the city’s massive transportation network.

He also insists: “When police officers ask someone for I.D. or they ask people to comply, they should comply.”

Though a rally was recently held in support of the churro vendor who was seen sobbing while police took her cart away and placed her in handcuffs, O’Neill reiterated that she was breaking the law.

He notes she had received at least 10 summonses for selling the sweet treats in the subways over the last five months. O’Neill also emphasized that Shark had a lengthy rap sheet himself.

While activists continue to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to halt his plan to hire new police officers as low-level arrests continue, the MTA proposed a new budget on Thursday calling for 500 new police officers to be hired.

As for those officers, O’Neill says the department will work with them to ensure the subways are even safer, but ultimately called it a “state decision.”