Aggressive metro police contrast with mayor’s pledge to involve outreach workers

Video of two NYPD officers dragging and handcuffing a man at the 8th Avenue L train station on Monday underscores concerns over Mayor Eric Adams’ new plan to send more cops onto subways, advocates say. And an accompanying initiative to have state-funded social service workers conduct outreach activities instead of the police will only be rolled out in the spring.

Screenshot / Karim Walker

Screenshot from video filmed by Karim Walker, in which two NYPD officers handcuffed a man at the 8th Avenue L train station on Monday.

Six days into his tenure on Thursday, New York’s new mayor partnered with Gov. Kathy Hochul to present a familiar response to concerns about homeless people on subways: a wave of cops to help passengers get through feel safe underground.

To homeless New Yorkers and their advocates, the strategy closely resembled decisions by former governors and mayors to step up patrols and kick people off trains and platforms. But Mayor Eric Adams, a former transit cop, said that plan would be different. Officers, he said, “will contact our outreach officers so they can respond – not to involve officers, unless there is criminal activity that requires immediate attention.” .

“It’s about building trust,” Adams added.

This message did not appear to reach two officers patrolling the 8th Avenue L station just before 1 a.m. on Monday.

Cell phone video shared with City Limits shows officers flanking a man as he sits on the steps leading to the train platform, hands on his shoulder and wrists. The man can be heard shouting “No” before officers attempt to handcuff him to his left wrist. As the man continued to scream and escape the police force, the two cops dragged him to the platform, pulled his arms behind his back, and handcuffed him.

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