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Last week, Jordan Sargent wrote a story claiming that the people in New York are cold and callus because they only gave Eryka Badu 3.60 for being terrible at street performing. That's not true at all. As this video shows, the people of New York love their buskers (when they're good)—it's the cops who are terrible.


The Gothamist and the Busking Project have more in depth articles, but basically one of New York's finest decided that a guitar player who was legally busking in the subway was, in fact, breaking the law. After having the street performer recite the law and looking it up himself, the officer still decided that the street performer was breaking the law and continued to harass him until back up arrived and they arrested him after hitting him in the face with his own guitar. See the video for yourself:

The crowd is clearly with the guy and multiple people filmed the entire incident. If the officer had just backed down once he read the law, the entire incident would have ended quietly. Instead, he escalated the situation (like the police officers in this incident) until he had an excuse to make an arrest and the crowd turns against him and the other officers chanting "fuck the police" as they leave. In the space of a few minutes the situation went from people waiting for a train listening to a guy playing guitar (one guy even pays him while he's being harassed by the cop) to an arrest and an angry mini-mob.

I'm thinking this is not the best way for the police to build community trust.

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