– The “War on Street Artists” – Puppeteer Unlawfully Arrested and Harassed in NYC Subway (Liberty Blitzkrieg, April 22, 2014):
The following story is the latest in a series of articles I have written recently highlighting the over-prosecution and legal harassment of the poor and disenfranchised across the USA. While wealthy white collar criminals rape and pillage society with total immunity, those who have no voice are being increasingly stomped down upon by an unjust system. Some recent articles on the topic can read below:
In some of these cases, there is a ridiculous law on the books to allow such over-prosecution or harassment, while other times, such as in the case below, the cops appear to be making shit up and are acting completely outside of the law.
As someone who grew up in New York City and lived there for 28 years, I am quite familiar with street artists in America’s largest metropolis.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed them. Some are extremely talented, others not so much, but they always added to the unique character of the city and only rarely posed any sort of threat or engaged in threatening behavior. This is why the following story and video really struck an emotional chord with me and I became overcome with sadness. In so many ways, what happened to Kalan Sherrard is what is happening to our country and culture in general. We are being collectively transformed into drugged out, bland, soulless zombies by a parasitic and incredibly corrupt financial system coupled with unrelenting corporate and government propaganda. Anyone who is interesting or stands out is shouted down by the establishment as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “radical,” or as Harry Reid himself recently stated, a “domestic terrorist.”
Make no mistake about it, what just happened to Kalan Sherrard is happening to us all. It’s just that many of us don’t see it yet.
The New York Daily News reports that:
Kalan Sherrard was in the middle of another of his nihilist-anarchist puppet shows in the Times Square subway station April 6 when cops slapped him in cuffs and charged him with disorderly conduct for creating a hazardous condition.
Now, the performance artist from outside Seattle is considering a lawsuit against the NYPD for what he considers an unlawful arrest. The episode was captured by a friend filming a documentary of the show, which Sherrard refers to as “not happenings.”
“It’s obvious in the video I’m not impeding anybody’s access,” he said. “They told me I was violating subway rules, but when I asked what rules they wouldn’t tell me.”
An NYPD spokeswoman confirmed the arrest.
“He was observed obstructing the free flow of traffic at the subway,” the spokeswoman said. “He was placing dolls and objects on the mezzanine walkway.”
When you watch the video you can see clearly he wasn’t obstructing anything and it was 1am.
The whole ordeal is another example of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s crackdown on subway performers, Sherrard said, noting that he is a member of BuskNY.
“We’ve definitely on an organizational level noticed that police harassment has really skyrocketed,” he said. “Like three times more people are being hit.”
The NYPD confirmed Sherrard’s impression: transit cops have arrested 416 people have for panhandling or peddling this year, compared to 154 during the same period last year. That’s an increase of 170%.
Yet not a single banker cuffed. Got it.
Gothamist also covered the story, but from the legal angle. It reports that:
Section 1050.6 of the MTA’s Rule of Conduct explicitly permits artistic performances in transit facilities, providing they do not obstruct pedestrian traffic, are at least 50 feet from a marked MTA entrance, 25 feet from a token booth, and aren’t part of aggressive solicitation schemes. Puppeteer Kalan Sherrard appeared to be abiding by the law while he was performing in the Times Square subway station shortly before 1 a.m. on April 6th, but the police arrested him anyway.
An NYPD spokeswoman says Sherrard was charged with disorderly conduct for “creating a hazardous condition” and obstructing pedestrian traffic. “He was placing dolls on the mezzanine walkway…the dolls had mutilated faces, were encircled with chalk. They obviously had no legitimate purpose.”
MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg declined to say whether Sherrard was violating the MTA’s code, citing the agency’s policy of not commenting on NYPD enforcement actions in the subway.
Now watch the video. You tell me, what sort of society arrests a guy like this, yet let’s criminal bankers rape and pillage at will?