Showing posts with label #NYPD #FareEvasion #CityCouncil #deBlasio #Bronxnews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #NYPD #FareEvasion #CityCouncil #deBlasio #Bronxnews. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2015

FREE Bus Rides?

FREE Bus Rides?
Fare-minded Fool Hardy City Council wants to Decriminalizing Fare-Evasion

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, APRIL 30- Members of the little known 'Eagle Team' working undercover in plain clothes and searching for fare-beaters along the route of Fordham Road's BX-12 Express Bus, quickly cornered and disarmed their suspect of his knife and placed him under arrest as the City Council continues to negotiate with Mayor Bill de Blasio such minor arrests as fare-beating-- non-criminal offenses.

Members of the NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority's unit the Eagle Team and undercover officers from the 48th Precinct asked the individual for a bus receipt as the express bus picked up passengers outside of 464 East Fordham Road at 10:25 a.m., on April 23. The suspect told officers he had no receipt and members swooped into action and quickly removed him from the bus and eventually placed him under arrest.

The suspect, Leonardo Henning, 53, of the Bronx offered no resistance as the unit ordered him off the bus and removed a knife from his back pocket and placed him under arrest. According to the criminal complaint, Henning admitted to cops, "I have a knife, I keep it for protection."

NYPD spokesman Detective Marc Nell said of Henning, "He was arrested for intent to fraud, obtaining transit without payment, a misdemeanor and criminal possession of a weapon." Nell revealed that Henning also had a prior bench warrant out for his arrest, but Nell could not say what that charge was for.

What began as a pilot program on express busses, the Eagle Team expanded in July, 2012 to cover bus routes across the city with high rates of fare-evasion, such as the BX-12 that travels across Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway to Bay Plaza.

The City Council is currently in negotiations with the de Blasio administration that if agreed upon would make such crimes as fare-evasion, drinking alcohol in public and public urination, a violation and subject to a ticket and fine, but would no longer constitute an arrest.

However, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned of legalizing quality-of-life crimes, telling reporters on April 27, "If you lose those powers to arrest, that's where Pandora's Box is opened and the 1970's, the 1980's have the potential to come roaring back again."

However, supporters of the idea like City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto who proposed the change, believe that the overwhelming number of arrests are concentrated in minority neighborhoods, clogging up the courts and the jail system and creating additional tension between minority neighborhoods and police.

One recent video posted on Facebook from February, 2014, shows a pair of cops question a man at what appears to be Pelham Parkway South and White Plains Road. Within minutes, six officers would soon wrestle their subject to the ground and eventually place him under arrest.

Orlando Smith, a University Heights resident who saw the video, fumed, "A confrontation escalating into a beating is inappropriate. It's uncalled for if he doesn't have a weapon and isn't doing anything and is just talking, they shouldn't have the right to put their hands on him."

According to the NYPD, there were 25,867 arrests in 2014 for fare-evasion, but the NYPD does not track how many of those arrests lead to additional charges, for such crimes as drugs or weapon possession.  

#NYPD #FareEvasion #CityCouncil #deBlasio #Bronxnews