Elected officials stand up for subway venders after recent churro arrestsPosted: Updated:
Elected officials, community members and transit riders surrounded vendors Wednesday outside the Myrtle Wyckoff train station – and called on transit officers to stop arresting people selling churros in the subway stations.
The push comes after video was widely shared showing the arrest of a woman who sells churros in the subway station. Photos of a second incident were tweeted out on Monday.
According to the MTA’s rules of conduct – unauthorized commercial activity, including the distribution of food, is not allowed on any facility.
NYPD Transit responded to Monday’s incident on Twitter, saying "This unauthorized vendor was given a warning and told to leave the station. She returned a short time later. Officers attempted to issue her a summons but discovered she had open warrants."
A woman who identified herself as Carmita, a licensed street vendor, told News 12 that she has been arrested more than once and that she's trying to make a living for herself and her children.
Elected leaders say they believe there are much more important places where the state’s money and resources should be going.
"There are actual crimes that need to be prosecuted,” says state Sen. Jessica Ramos. “We want police officers to keep us safe…churro ladies are not a menace on the subway."
They are demanding Gov. Andrew Cuomo halt his plans to hire 500 additional transit officers and repurpose that funding to make the MTA more reliable.
Ramos has introduced legislation to allow more churro vendors to sell in the subway without fear of harassment.
"Most of whom have undergone the licensing requirements through the Department of Health and have paid their taxes already and still aren't given a permit for vending because there's a limit and a very long waiting list," she told News 12.
News 12 reached out to the governor's office for a comment about the funding.