‘Nothing was broken here - until police came’: Busker on NYPD subway arrest

After Andrew Kalleen was arrested for playing guitar in the NYC subway, fellow musicians joined him in a musical protest of the incident. The musician asserts that he was not violating any laws: “Nothing was broken here until police came,” he told RT.

Kalleen was arrested for playing music on a subway platform in Brooklyn last Friday. The police officer told the folk musician to stop playing and leave the subway.

However, the officer grew increasingly agitated after Kalleen refused to stop and had him read out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) code of conduct aloud.

The rules explicitly allow performers to solicit donations. Even though the officer was now made aware that Kalleen was not in violation of the regulations, he proceeded to snatch the busker’s guitar, shove him to ground, and cuff him.

It did seem like the officer was frustrated. And I can see that he wasn’t prepared for that situation. He’s told to do that, and it’s illegal. He was told to do something illegal by people that are higher up, so I can see why he would lose his cool,” Kalleen told RT.

Andrew was detained for five hours following the arrest.

The confrontation with an NYPD officer, captured on video by an onlooker, has amassed over one million views on YouTube. Most users believe that the police’s time could be better spent solving actual crimes.

Kalleen told RT that he plans to sue the city.

Nothing was broken down there until the police came. That was the disturbance of peace,” he said. “People should not be treated like that and I need to take actions against it. There has to be repercussions for those actions.

However, MTA regulations differ from state law which says that performers loitering in a transportation facility may be arrested unless specifically authorized to be there. So the possible outcome of such a lawsuit is not clear.

I like to not live in fear. I think anyone who is doing as they please and respecting those around them should continue to do as they please regardless of who says they shouldn’t—what authority figure they may be,” Kalleen said.

RT reached out to both the MTA and the NYPD to find out what specific rule Kalleen violated. However, no response has been returned.