EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — A fight between two NYPD officers and two teenagers in an East Harlem subway station on Saturday was caught on camera.
Police said the incident began when a 16-year-old boy jumped a turnstile at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station and two officers approached him and a 16-year-old girl, who allegedly ducked under a turnstile. The officers told the teens they needed to leave the station, officials said.
For more than three minutes, the 16-year-old boy was “verbally aggressive” with officers, officials said. When cops tried to take him into custody, he allegedly assaulted them.
Police charged both teens with assault on a police officer, obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment, according to officials.
The bloody brawl is just one example of the violence officers are facing while enforcing the law in the transit system, NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox said.
“We have seen over a 55% increase of assaults on officers this year,” Wilcox said. “The majority of these assaults began as they were engaging persons who have committed fare evasion or other quality of life violations on the trains and stations.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell on Tuesday condemned the incident and alleged one of the suspects had recently been arrested in an unrelated incident.
“The assault on our officers in the subway is another example of individuals emboldened by a system that, just days ago, immediately released one of them after being arrested for robbery,” Sewell said in a tweet on Tuesday.
At an MTA meeting on Monday, crime and commuter patterns were the priorities, but officials painted a bleak picture. While arrests are way up, ridership is still under projections at about 60%. The top concerns were service, reliability and safety.
“That’s what our riders are telling us they are concerned about on the subway which, right now, has the most dramatic reduction in ridership,” MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said.
A new report revealed one-third of former riders said they won’t be back. The MTA said that could spell a $1.6 billion annual deficit. As a result, service cuts, layoffs and 4% fare hikes could be coming in the next few years.