NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A rally was held in Brooklyn on Wednesday in support of two women charged with illegally selling churros on the subway.
A second woman was recently cited after another seller was handcuffed and taken into custody.
Advocates and local leaders denounced the NYPD for what they call “over-policing,” CBSN New York’s Reena Roy reported.
“It’s textbook broken windows policing. For officers to target someone who is just trying to make a living, minding her own business, selling churros,” one protester said.
Web Extra: Rally In Brooklyn To Support Churro Vendors Selling In NYC Subway:
Cops ticketed 41-year-old Maria Corillo on Monday morning at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station in Bushwick for “unlicensed general vending” while selling churros, a fried dough pastry.
And just three days before, a cellphone video went viral. It was taken at the Broadway Junction station in Bedford-Stuyvesant showing a woman named “Elsa” get detained by police for the same thing.
“She feels absolutely horrible,” the woman’s translator said.
Authorities told CBS2 both women were issued summonses more than once in the past.
“Unfortunately, you’re going to find a common thread in all of these incidents. The common thread is lack of cooperation,” NYPD Transit Chief Edward Delatorre said. “When people don’t follow our requests, or commands, there’s a potential for escalation. The woman selling food was asked repeatedly to cooperate and she had been given a summons and she refused.”
But some argue that happens because it’s not easy for street vendors to survive, especially since it’s difficult to get a permit to operate legally.
The Department of Health said it limits the number of permits the agency can issue, a cap that’s been in place for decades. The city council is hoping to change that over the next several years, and also better regulate the business.
“We are looking into passing legislation that could modify the way we do work with street vendors,” Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso said. “What you end up having is several people who have permits that are not using them end up leasing theirs out for three, four, five times the price of what they cost.”
Or vendors can join a lengthy wait list that features nearly 1,500 people in line for a license.