NEW YORK - Elected officials, the Riders Alliance and others on Monday protested outside transit police district headquarters after a video went viral showing police officers handcuffing a woman who was selling churros in a subway station over the weekend.
As that protest was underway, officers handcuffed another churro vendor at the Myrtle-Wycoff Station. The NYPD said that police gave that vendor a warning and told her to leave the station but she returned a short time later.
"Officers attempted to issue her a summons but discovered she had 2 open warrants," police told FOX 5 NY in an email. "She was handcuffed, issued a summons, and taken to court to answer for her warrants.
Elsa, the vendor in the first incident, broke down in tears as she described how cops have taken her food carts with churros 10 times before.
When asked about that, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the police officers acted appropriately.
"The facts are she was there multiple times and was told multiple times, 'That's not a place you can be, and it's against the law and creating congestion,'" the mayor said at a press availability on Monday.
The MTA told FOX 5 NY that churro vendors are not singled out. Vendors are not given permission to sell in subway stations because carts can obstruct the movement of riders getting on and off trains
New York City Transit President Andy Byford said he is sympathetic to the plight of people just trying to make a living but he is also focused on providing a safe, hassle-free environment for transit riders.
"You can't just rock up and sell things," Byford said. "Quite often that presents an obstruction of people in the way of regular customers trying to go about their business."
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