Man Arrested for Following the Law

Following the law is not enough to make you safe from police.

There was a man playing his guitar and singing in a New York City subway, a perfectly legal thing to do according to the law, but he was arrested anyway. For doing the very thing the law explicitly permits. The cop actually cited the law that permitted the man to play his guitar in the subway as he was arresting him. I know. It makes no sense. So see? The headline wasn’t sensationalist at all.

Someone even caught the whole exchange on video. It would be funny if it weren’t real.

(Warning:  Strong language…and he plays a wrong chord at 3:24. But I’m sure he was nervous under the circumstances, so we should give him a pass.)

The police are supposed to be law enforcement. What law did this guy break? Even the busker himself knew the law better than the cop. The Blaze quotes the law, taken from section 1050.6(c) of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the same law that the guitarist/singer refers to:

“Except as expressly permitted in this subdivision, no person shall engage in any nontransit uses upon any facility or conveyance. Nontransit uses are noncommercial activities that are not directly related to the use of a facility or conveyance for transportation. The following nontransit uses are permitted by the Authority, provided they do not impede transit activities and they are conducted in accordance with these rules: public speaking; campaigning; leafletting or distribution of written noncommercial materials; activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration; artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations; solicitation for religious or political causes; solicitation for charities that [meet various criteria].” [Emphasis The Blaze’s]

You hear what the cop did in the video after he read the whole relevant portion of the law? Once he realized he was wrong and that the guy playing his guitar was right, he tried to play it off like the law said “prohibited,” instead of “permitted.” Clever. But everything was caught on video for everyone to see. Not so clever.