I work as a conductor on the IRT and am writing you about an incident I recently witnessed involving the NYPD and their racist targeting of Black teenagers in the subway system.
I was working as a platform conductor with another conductor when we both witnessed two plain-clothes detectives pull two Black youths who looked no more than 12 or 13, from the arriving No. 2 train. The detectives literally picked the teenagers up and threw them onto the platform, then up against a wall where they were handcuffed. It was then that we realized what they were being arrested for: selling bags of M& M candy on the train! People sell stuff on the subway all the time. If you’re really unlucky it is the kind of thing that gets you a ticket -- if you’re white. But if you’re Black or Latino it can be used as the pretext for arrest and assault.
My co-worker was just as outraged by this incident as I was, but we were unable to intervene because of the crowded platform and also because we could have been arrested ourselves.
We need our union to fight back against the MTA and politicians. But a much bigger struggle is needed against all society’s injustices.
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