Charges changed

During my July 25th arrest, I was given multiple reasons to leave the station, including “performing without a permit” and “performing on the platform.” Fortunately, both of these things are specifically permitted by the MTA Rules of Conduct. Oops! One officer also raised the idea of a “safety concern.” But, as he was unable to identify any such concern on video, his idea wouldn’t seem likely to hold water in court.

So, when I was released with my Desk Appearance Ticket, the charges listed were: “LOC000.00 0V.” Apparently the legal team needed more time at that point.

A search on WebCrims the next day returned nothing at all. Fortunately, Andrew Ramos at Pix11 was able to get an explanation from the police by phone: they had simply misspelled my name. So, as reported in his coverage, the charges were “blocking traffic.”

Well — it appears that someone has changed his or her mind yet again. According to a WebCrims search this afternoon, I am now charged with a violation of NY penal law statute § 240.35. Among other fun activities, this statute forbids:

  • “[remaining] in a public place for the purpose of gambling with cards, dice or other gambling paraphernalia,”
  • “[remaining] in a public place for the purpose of engaging, or soliciting another person to engage, in oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or other sexual behavior of a deviate nature;” and
  • Congregating in a public place while “being masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire or facial alteration.”

I guess someone just doesn’t want us to have any fun.

Anyway, they got more specific with me, focusing on section 6:

“Loiters or remains in any transportation facility, unless specifically authorized to do so, for the purpose of soliciting or engaging in any business, trade or commercial transactions involving the sale of merchandise or services, or for the purpose of entertaining persons by singing, dancing or playing any musical instrument.”

Never mind that the MTA has its own section of state law addressing what one can and cannot do in the transit system — the NYPD has found a better one. And it’s only 80 kajillion years old!

Nonetheless, it would appear to make an ironclad case against me. Wait, what’s that you say, English teachers? Subordinating conjunctions, you say? Ah yes, let’s reread:

“Unless specifically authorized to do so.”

Aha! Well, given that this business is specifically addressed in 22 NYCRR / the Rules of Conduct in the first place, it looks like we’re alright. Thanks, justice system: you done me a solid.