Tina Luongo, Attorney in Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice of The Legal Aid Society, released the following statement today responding to the recent proposal by New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford to expand the use of NYPD officers to patrol local bus services to curb fare evasion.
“We strongly oppose New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford’s wrongheaded proposal to police our city buses with fare evasion strike teams.
Fare evasion is a quintessential crime of poverty, and President Byford should not criminalize our clients and others New Yorkers in a fruitless attempt to mitigate his agency’s longstanding financial issues.
Byford’s proposal will only exacerbate the over-policing of communities of color and continue punishing vulnerable residents who are struggling to get by in a City that becomes more costly every day.
City Hall and others in government office should reject this absurd and harmful idea that runs afoul to New York City values.”