NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Police Department has issued changes to how its officers deal with fare beaters following an internal review and a controversial arrest made in the Bronx last week.
As TV 10/55’s Don Champion reported Friday, a tense cellphone video has not only gone viral, but also sparked changes within the NYPD.
“I just thought somebody needs to see this,” said Dariel Reyes, who shot the cellphone video.
Moments before the video started, officers had approached the man at the center of the incident and asked to see his bus receipt as he exited the BX12 bus at Pelham Parkway and White Plains Road, Champion reported.
“The officer just held him tight. The guy is saying ‘I have my ticket, I paid and I have proper ID’ and as you can see in the video, it escalated from that,” Reyes recalled.
The incident escalated to the point that the man was arrested, even though it was later determined that he did indeed have a bus ticket, Champion reported.
An NYPD internal order sent to officers and obtained by TV 10/55 shows that as a direct result of the video and arrest, officers are now being told they cannot make random stops of people getting off of buses.
In addition, they can no longer do spot checks of passengers, unless the person poses a threat or a bus driver flags an officer down, Champion reported.
Bus passengers who spoke to TV 10/55 applauded the changes.
“Sometimes they act like ‘oh I’m a cop, you have to show me the ticket or there’s going to be a problem.’ It don’t work like that,” Vincent Ferra said.
“We’ll see what happens when this starts getting into action, ’cause we’re always promised things in these communities about how officers are going to start treating us better,” Jeffrey Mullings added.
The stepped-up patrols surrounding Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus routes have been going on for months after the agency asked for help cutting down on bus and subway fare evaders, Champion reported.
The NYPD carried out 18,000 checks of passengers last year. The inspections led to 243 criminal court summonses, 253 misdemeanor arrests, and 9 felony arrests.
The MTA said checks by the NYPD also help cut down on the number of assault and harassment calls.
The man seen getting arrested in the video faces several charges, including resisting arrest. TV 10/55 reached out to him for his side of the story but he didn’t want to go on camera, Champion reported.
Police officials confirmed the arrest and said the actions of the officers in the cellphone video are under review.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com: