Viral video shows police handcuff woman selling churros at subway station, confiscate her cart

Brooklyn
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BROOKLYN — Video of a woman being handcuffed for selling churros at a Brooklyn subway station is going viral after being posted to Twitter by a passerby.

The video, posted early Saturday morning, shows police officers speaking to the woman at the Broadway Junction station, where she was holding a cart of food that she was seemingly trying to sell.

Sofia Newman, an actress based in the city, according to her Twitter bio, wrote that cops gave the woman an ultimatum: either surrender the cart and receive a fine, or they’d take it from her and arrest her.

According to Newman’s posts, the woman was cuffed and her cart was taken away.

According to the MTA website, it’s illegal to sell or distribute food inside of the transit system.

Police said the incident happened Friday evening.

“She was instructed in English and Spanish that she would be issued a summons,” a police spokesperson said, “and her property taken as evidence in accordance with procedure. She refused to cooperate and was briefly handcuffed; officers escorted her into the command where she was uncuffed. Her property was vouchered as arrest evidence and she was released within minutes.”

NYPD Transit Chief Edward Delatorre tweeted additional information about the situation on Sunday.

“Our officers have been responding to number of recent complaints of violations at this station, including the unlawful and unlicensed sale of food and other products,” he said.

But many feel the officers went too far.

“No matter what the law says,” Newman wrote, “there is no reason why that many officers needed to encircle, demean, and police the poverty of that woman of color. It was an abuse of power, and yet another example of how broken our system is.”

Back in September, the MTA announced plans to hire about 500 new transit cops, with the agency seeking to fix issues in the system impacting the “quality of life.”

The transit cops was intended to battle the increasing number of fare evasions and assaults on workers, as well as tackle the homelessness crisis to better the quality of life of all commuters.

Police also confirmed to PIX11 News that, as first reported by Gothamist, the woman had been issued multiple summonses this year for unlicensed vending at the Broadway Junction station, and police have fielded numerous complains about unlicensed vendors at that station in particular.

Politicians, city leaders and other notable New Yorkers shared the video with comments of their own.

Aliza Chasan contributed. Thumbnail photo courtesy Twitter/@SofiaBNewman.

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