Cops are tasked with enforcing laws.
Shouldn't they be able to understand the laws, too?
Video posted to YouTube Saturday shows what appears to be a disturbing case of police ignorance: A police officer literally reads out loud the rule that permits a man to play guitar in the subway, then arrests that man for playing guitar in the subway anyway.
In the video, which appears to have been recorded in the Metropolitan Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, the police officer argues that New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority requires a permit for playing music in the subway, but the guitar player quickly responds by citing the exact section of the MTA rules that make his performance kosher.
He even gets the cop to read the section, 1050.6(c), out loud.
As bystanders record video, the cop reads aloud that artistic performances in the subway, including accepting donations, "are permitted."
The guitar player starts to say, "Great, I'll keep playing," but the cop quickly changes course.
"Are prohibited," the cop states, as if he had misread the passage the first time.
What follows is a sad standoff, with the guitar player refusing to leave and launching into Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" as the officer wrestles his guitar away from him.
Eventually other officers appear on scene and handcuff the guitar player as bystanders chant, "F*** the police!"
Watch the encounter below (content warning — strong language):
Who was right, the officer or the guitar player? Here's the relevant excerpt from section 1050.6(c) of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's rules of conduct (emphasis added):
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].
An NYPD spokeswoman declined to speak to TheBlaze on the telephone on Monday morning about the incident, instead giving an instruction that some argue effectively delays reporting on police issues in New York: "Send an email."
The email did not garner an immediate response.
Gothamist reported that the guitar player was named Andrew Kalleen and that he was arrested and charged with loitering.
An NYPD spokesperson reportedly told Gothamist that Kalleen was a "transit recidivist," meaning he had some sort of open ticket or warrant, but Gothamist noted that the spokesperson did not claim Kalleen was impeding traffic — which could have legally justified the officer's command that Kalleen leave — and in the video, the officer does not mention outstanding tickets or warrants.
This story has been updated.
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