EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — An unruly man allegedly made a grab for an NYPD transit officer’s service weapon in a struggle at a Brooklyn subway station Tuesday, police said, prompting the revision of a solo patrol strategy announced just last week.
The officer was patrolling Pennsylvania Avenue station on the No. 3 line in East New York around 6:50 p.m., when he spotted a man smoking a cigarette on the southbound platform in violation of transit system rules, authorities said.
When the officer ordered the man, identified by police as Alex Eremin, to put out the cigarette, Eremin allegedly ignored the command and threw himself down a platform staircase, according to the NYPD.
The cop then went to check on Eremin, who allegedly grabbed the officer and tried to drag him down the rest of the staircase, authorities said. During the ensuing struggle, Eremin, 24, allegedly made repeated attempts to grab the officer’s service weapon, officials said.
The officer was ultimately able to subdue and arrest Eremin. He is facing several charges, including attempted robbery, assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and violation of railroad laws.
Following the scuffle, Eremin was transported to an area hospital for an evaluation. Authorities described his condition as stable.
The run-in occurred just days after Mayor Eric Adams greenlit the renewed use of solo patrols by transit cops to combat subway crime, and led the NYPD to revise the strategy.
“We are continuing with the solo patrol concept by spreading officers out on posts but with the caveat that they be within sight of one another,” a department spokesperson said in a statement issued just hours after Tuesday’s alleged attack. “This will increase visibility of police officers looking out for the riding public while at the same time looking out for each other.”
The NYPD had not used solo patrols since 2014, when two officers were fatally shot inside their car during an unprovoked ambush in Brooklyn.
A spokesperson for the Police Benevolent Association union, which had previously criticized the return of solo patrols, said that President Patrick Lynch had discussed the attack with Adams, himself a former NYPD captain and member of the then-independent Transit Police Department. During that discussion, Adams indicated that train patrols would once again feature two officers, according to the PBA.
Indicating that the NYPD member involved in the incident was one of their constituents, the Detectives’ Endowment Association union separately confirmed talks with Adams.
“Now, due to the efforts of the DEA, Detectives and fellow cops will not be alone when patrolling the subways,” said President Paul DiGiacomo in a statement. “The Mayor knows the history of transit policing as well as we do — it’s a matter of life and death.”