WATCH: Musician arrested for singing in subway


#1

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#2

This seems like a good opportunity to promote BuskNY, which seeks “to generate broad awareness of the legality of artistic performance in the New York City subway, in order to end wrongful ejection, ticketing, and arrest of subway performers” via “grassroots organizing of subway performers, with a particular focus on encouraging lawsuits for wrongful ticketing and arrest.”


#3

At least the crowd seemed to support Office Boo-urns…


#4

Tough situation. Unsure on the law/policy is for certain, but linking through BuskNY found this. Seems like busker may be in the wrong unless I missed something in the video…along with the police for being a heavy handed meathead.

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: (1) have been
licensed for any public solicitation within the preceding 12 months by
the Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York under
section 21-111 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York or any
successor provision; (2) are duly registered as charitable
organizations with the Attorney General of New York under section 172 of
the New York Executive Law or any successor provision; or, (3) are
exempt from Federal income tax under section 501©(3) of the United
States Internal Revenue Code or any successor provision. Solicitors for
such charities shall provide, upon request, evidence that such charity
meets one of the preceding qualifications.


#5

I don’t understand how you are reading that to imply the busker is in the wrong. The semicolons are demarcating a list. The numbered items that you are trying to bold-text are referring to the last item on that list, the solicitation for charities.

It may help if we reformat it:

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: (1) have been licensed for any public solicitation within the preceding 12 months by the Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York under section 21-111 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York or any successor provision; (2) are duly registered as charitable organizations with the Attorney General of New York under section 172 of the New York Executive Law or any successor provision; or, (3) are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501©(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code or any successor provision. Solicitors for
    such charities shall provide, upon request, evidence that such charity meets one of the preceding qualifications.

#6

Ah. I was reading the rules as allying to the entire list. That is why i am not a lawyer…or reader? (note to policeman - this is what you needed to do - graciously acknowledge being incorrect)


#7

Assuming the text is accurate (I haven’t checked) and that nothing elsewhere in the law changes the interpretation (again I haven’t checked), I agree with your organization. There could still be an argument that the numbered list of requirements was intended to apply to all previously enumerated activities (semicolons notwithstanding), except that the very last clause following the numbered list says “such charities” - apparently confining the numbered list to solicitation for charities, the last named action.

I hope somebody steps up to advise him pro bono on whether he has a suit against the city.


#8

Interesting hypothetical: The identity of an undercover police office must remain a secret, as a crucial part of any investigation he or she is involved in. Therefore, any video recording or still image of an undercover officer could be interpreted as interfering with an ongoing investigation, and threatening the life and safety of a police officer. This makes any such recording suppressible, and provides grounds for the arrest of the individual making the recording.

Given the above, and we are still talking hypothetical, does it not make sense that an unscrupulous agency might make a practice of involving undercover officers in operations where they notice that unwanted recording is taking place?


#9

Read the numbered part, and see whether it can apply to the bullets above. It can’t. “Campaigning,” for example, can’t possibly be “duly registered as charitable organization” and “exempt from Federal income tax,” almost by definition.


#10

It would be good to know the outcome. Does anybody know if the busker is Ok, and perhaps suing?


#11

This type of interaction between the NYPD and who they decide to harass has little to do with the actual law and everything to do with not being completely subservient to the police. If a NYC cop tells you to do something, you must comply or face arrest, regardless if what you are doing is illegal. It’s a battle of egos. The commissioner and the mayor approve this form of bullying as way to improve the behavior of all citizens.


#12

I would suggest he’s possibly an off-duty or plain-clothes officer, rather than undercover. Any agent on a job would be foolish to blow his cover where video is permitted. That’s probably first rule of undercover club or something.


#13

Right above the Lorimer subway stop is a police station.


#14

If you were undercover as part of a serious investigation, you wouldn’t waltz into a crowded subway platform where you could likely guess you would be recorded and arrest a busker.

Undercovers (and transit undercovers) are ostensibly there to catch any illicit, small time activity that may be happening. Plainclothes is a better way of putting it. If it were a Hollywood style undercover officer you’d probably keep schtum, maybe even take part in the booing.


#15

I was agreeing with you. Cheers.


#16

Agree with what you’re saying, but it’s not really about the busker’s ego, he’s just trying to make a buck. Not sure I’d call his behaviour egotistical. The fight for him is about livelihood, not pride.


#17

Once in an English train station I tossed £1 onto the rucksack of a flute-playing busker. She had a few small coins, maybe totaling 50p. As I was walking away I looked back and noticed she’d pulled the £1 and hidden it. Charlatan, I thought. You probably make £100 a day and make it look like you’ve got nothing. Then, on the train, I could still hear her playing. She’d switched from something slow and sad to a happy tune, and I just as quickly felt like a jerk. And I realized that buskers have to hide anything bigger than small change or they risk being mugged. They probably get mugged regularly anyway. They need police protection rather than harassment.


#18

I didn’t mean the musician’s ego.


#19

That’s a double shame, because she’d almost certainly bring in more if she could safely leave the larger donations in view (in the nonprofit world, it’s called “salting” the donation box).


#20

Don’t worry about not being a lawyer–you can still become a politician!