‘Manspreading’: New misdemeanor plaguing NYC subway, first arrests reported

Making yourself comfortable on a NY subway train could land you in hot water, especially if you occupy too much space. What appears to be the first ever arrest for so-called manspreading was revealed in a new report.

Two Latino men were allegedly arrested for manspreading, sitting with knees wide open, thus occupying two seats on May 22 at 12:11am, according to a report released by the Police Reform Organizing Project in New York. This is probably the first time manspreading has led to an arrest and court appearance.

READ MORE: Murders up 20 percent in NYC

Although, according to the report, the judge said that at the time of the arrest there could not have been many passengers on the train, she nevertheless slapped the two men with an ACD, which means that charges against them will be dropped if they don't get arrested again for a fixed period of time, the report says.

In January, the Metropolitan Transit Authority rolled out an ad campaign reminding men to “mind the gap” and keep knees closer together while seated on public transport.

Entire blogs have been created to document the culprits who don’t comply. Even actor Tom Hanks was publicly shamed, being called the “new face of manspreading.”

Hanks excused himself, saying that the “train was half empty.”

That excuse didn’t work for the two men arrested in May, though.

Robert Gangi, Director of Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), which compiled the report, says the NYPD is criminalizing a subway etiquette faux pas as an excuse to issue more fines and arrest people, most of whom are poor minorities.

“We think it’s driven by a quota system. There is almost no other rational explanation for why the cops would conduct this kind of arrest unless they are under pressure to meet certain numbers, to meet with their productivity goals,” Gangi told RT’s Maria Portnaya.

The case with the two Latino men allegedly arrested for manspreading is in a PROP’s PDF file, containing 117 vignettes on “disrespect and abuse at the hands of NYPD officers” over a period of several years.

According to reports, the NYPD has allegedly issued more than 1,400 summons for manspreading this year. While police officers are working hard to contain this ‘very serious’ matter, real crime in the city is on the rise. Reports in March said that the homicide rate in NYC spiked 20 percent in the first two months of 2015.

RT reached out to the NYPD asking for confirmation about the manspreading arrests and questioning how many people have been arrested for manspreading. So far, the NYPD has not responded.