The New York Police Department has begun arresting subway passengers who spread their knees too wide. The practice is being termed “manspreading,” but NYPD cops say they will arrest men or women who do not close their legs tightly enough.
This makes New York City the first location – possibly in the world – where making yourself too comfortable can land you behind bars.
— Elaine Romanelli (@ElaineRom) May 20, 2015
The first NYPD arrest for “manspreading” targeted two Latino men. They were allegedly arrested for sitting with knees wide open, thus causing them to occupy “two seats.”
The arrest took place on May 22 at 12:11am, according to the police report.
Interestingly, the judge in this case said that there could not possibly have been many passengers at that time of the day. But she nevertheless maintained the arrest as lawful.
She said the charges would be dropped as long as the men are not arrested for “manspreading” again.
All of this targeting seems to emanate from a Metropolitan Transit Authority ad campaign that rolled out in January. It seemed to only offer a friendly reminder to men that they should “mind the gap” by keeping their knees closer together on subways.
Former President Bill Clinton and actor Tom Hanks have even been publicly shamed on blogs dedicated to exposing “manspreaders.”
Hanks actually felt forced to respond, explaining that the “train was half empty.”
But that wasn’t enough for critics who call him “the new face of manspreading.”
Robert Gangi, the Director of Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), says that this is just another NYPD pretext to arrest whoever they want, often disproportionately targeting “minority” communities.
“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 said in an interview with RT.
Some have noted, however, that women are being given a pass on the so-called “manspreading” phenomenon.
— Bayonethics (@MissBeeblebrox) May 15, 2015
Watch the video below for another example that is being used to point out that this is not exclusively a “man” thing.
Even though “manspreading” may sound almost satirical to people outside of New York City, the NYPD has issued over 1,400 summons for manspreading this year.
They are calling this a “very serious” matter, so whether you laugh or cry, the fact is they will arrest you if they catch you with your knees too far apart on NYC subways.
Meanwhile, real crime in the city is on the rise, with the homicide rate in NYC spiking 20% this year.
(Article by Jackson Marciana and Reagan Ali)