A talented Brooklyn teenager now has a criminal record -- for dancing!
Last month Tatianya Mathews received a summons for dancing on a southbound Q train. It was a summons for reckless endangerment.
Tatianya’s mom, Fatimah Abdullah, says her 16-year-old daughter is a great kid with a passion for the arts and she couldn’t be more proud of her. So she is understandably angry that her daughter now has a blot on her name. She put it succinctly: “This is what our tax dollars are going for?”
Good question. That’s why she contacted me to try to get some answers.
Here’s the definition of the charge against Tatianya:
A person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the second degree when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. Reckless endangerment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Dancing on the subway qualifies?
Tatianya is kind of stunned by the whole thing. It happened July 21 as the train arrived at the DeKalb Avenue Station. Suddenly she and a friend were surrounded by plainclothes officers.
Tatianya told me, “They said, 'Don’t move, don’t run." I didn’t say anything at first because I was, like, I was just shocked."
Tatianya’s mom says her daughter wasn’t soliciting money for dancing. But some money was offered and accepted. She says dancing is just one of her talented daughter’s passions. In fact, she attends Brooklyn School of the Arts.
But is this really good law enforcement? I asked the Manhattan DA’s office about it. I received an email back saying, “We cannot provide any information prior to a defendant’s arraignment…”
It suggested I ask the NYPD.
So we did ask why they charged a kid dancing on the train with reckless endangerment. The NYPD explained it was because “the individual was observed by a police officer dancing and swinging on the passenger pole."
Tatianya’s mom disputes that. She says pole swinging is not part of her daughter’s repertoire.
“I don’t think charging her and processing her was the way to go,” Fatimah said. “I feel like they’re just trying to give our children records.”
Tatianya put it this way: “I feel like they should be out finding real criminals and not like and not making criminals.”
She has her day in court Sept. 18. We’ll let you know what happens.