The subway saxophonist identified for taking part in music to a crowd of small robotic dancing cats and commuters was arrested final week for “impeding pedestrian flow and utilizing a sound reproduction device” on the thirty fourth Avenue Herald Sq. subway station, the NYPD stated.
In viral social media movies exhibiting the Thursday arrest, the musician, John Ajilo, is seen being positioned in handcuffs by a number of cops on the identical busking spot the performer has used for greater than 5 years to arrange his two audio system, grooving cats and a “dancing is happiness” signal.
Ajilo is heard protesting the police’s request to cease performing.
“I’m not committing any crime!” he stated within the video.
After just a few extra warnings, the police then attempt to put him in handcuffs and seize his saxophone from him.
“My saxophone! My saxophone!” cried Ajilo as officers began holding him again. He repeatedly yelled for assist because the arrest continued.
Ajilo posted on his Instagram after the arrest that his wrist was injured and his saxophone and “dancers” were damaged. He said he received four tickets after spending the night in jail.
In a statement, the NYPD said officers were responding to “complaints from the MTA regarding an unauthorized performer,” and cited a hyperlink to the MTA’s subway efficiency guidelines. The principles they shared don’t specify needing a allow to carry out, however they do prohibit performers from taking part in “at any location where the musical performance would interfere with…the movement of passengers,” which is what the NYPD alleged Ajilo was doing primarily based on the staggered association of his dancing digital cats.
The NYPD additionally stated Ajilo was stopped for “utilizing a sound reproduction device.” Nevertheless, the subway efficiency guidelines on the MTA’s web site don’t explicitly say that audio system will not be allowed for musicians – solely that there are limits to their utilization.
However the MTA’s guidelines of conduct for commuters contradicts the foundations for performers by saying that utilizing a “sound production device” may end up in a $25 wonderful.
In an announcement, MTA Chief Security and Safety Officer Pat Warren stated, “the MTA has rules of conduct that are for the safety of all riders and employees and are not optional. We appreciate the mayor’s and police commissioner’s commitment to keeping New Yorkers safe by ensuring those rules are observed across the transit system.”
Some New Yorkers that got here throughout the viral video on-line used it as a possibility to criticize the Adams’ administration crackdown to “clean-up” the town’s subways. The mayor has added an additional 1,000 officers to patrol the subways in an try and curb transit crime.
However critics stated the extra police presence has resulted within the harassment of extra subway distributors, and now, beloved musicians.
Ajilo launched a GoFundMe web page, the place he has obtained greater than $65,000 in donations as of Monday night.
“Am only doing my best to make people feel good in Life,” Ajilo stated on his social media.