Beloved subway saxophonist arrested by NYPD: video

A popular subway busker who treats commuters to a saxophone and a band of dancing, animatronic cats has been arrested at a Midtown station as Mayor Eric Adams tries to restore order to the transit system.

The musician, known as Jazz Ajilo, or the “dancing is happiness” man on social media, was arrested by six NYPD officers at the 34th Street Herald Square subway station around 10:30 p.m. Thursday night, according to police and video after the incident the street musician’s YouTube page.

The clip shows the musician conversing with officers at one of his usual spots on the station’s mezzanine level, surrounded by his circling figures, speakers and a rotating donation box, when suddenly one of the police officers grabs him to arrest him.

“Help me! Help me!” The musician cries as the cops wrestle with him and try to handcuff him.

“Officer, why are you arresting me?” he heard screams.

“What did I do wrong? I’m a musician… I have four autistic children.”

The saxophonist repeatedly screams for help while wrestling with cops as they work to arrest him.

Subway musician Jazz Ajillo was arrested by six NYPD officers at the 34th Street Herald Square station last Thursday night.
Subway musician Jazz Ajilo was arrested by six NYPD officers at the 34th Street Herald Square station last Thursday night.
Jazz Ajilo

Officers tell him to stop resisting, but the conversation they had before the arrest is not heard in the clip.

The busker later posted the video to his YouTube page and said he was arrested and gave him four tickets for “performing at the same venue” he had used repeatedly for the past five years.

“The police always see me there and they cheer too [sic] me on,” the musician wrote on his YouTube page.

“My wrist is injured from the tight handcuffs, I’m emotionally depressed and my body hurts.”

When he was released and allowed to reclaim his property, the busker said his saxophone was damaged and his “dancers” – the animatronic cats and bunnies – were broken and “incomplete,” he claimed on YouTube.

“And four pink tickets to top it all off after a sleepover in the cell, all for a struggling subway busker trying to musically take care of the family and my four autistic/autistic kids and the community,” he wrote.

Performing in subway stations is permitted under MTA regulations, but there are a number of codes of conduct buskers must follow, such as: B. Keeping the volume below a certain decibel and not standing too close to the booth.

A spokesman for the NYPD said they had received “multiple complaints from the MTA” that the busker “obstructed foot traffic and used a sound player” and had come to the area to ask the musician to leave.

Ajilo begged the officers when they arrested him.
Ajilo begged the officers when they arrested him.
Jazz Ajilo

“Officials … observed a person with a large display of boxes, robotic animals and a sound system obstructing pedestrian traffic through the subway facilities. The person was warned multiple times to leave the place where no enforcement action would be taken,” the spokesman said.

“Following these warnings, the person continued to refuse to exit the subway station. The officers then asked the person to identify himself in order to be able to issue a summons. The person again refused all orders from officers and refused to provide ID,” the spokesman continued.

“An NYPD sergeant responded and repeated the same instructions to the person. After exhausting all options with the person, they were taken into custody and taken to a police facility.”

Police said the musician received four subpoenas for violating MTA rules and regulations, committing begging during transportation, obstructing foot traffic and committing disorderly conduct.

They said he was “released shortly afterwards with all his belongings” and did not comment on the musician’s claims that his saxophone and dancing cats were damaged.

The MTA confirmed that an agent at the station booth had complained to police that the busker was taking up “excessive space” and disrupting the flow of foot traffic.

“The MTA has rules of conduct that serve the safety of all drivers and employees and are not optional. We appreciate the dedication of the mayor and the police commissioner to keeping New Yorkers safe by ensuring these rules are followed throughout the transit system,” said Pat Warren, MTA’s chief safety and security officer, in a statement to The Post .

An NYPD spokesman claimed that was the case "several complaints from the MTA" about the performer.
An NYPD spokesman claimed there were “multiple complaints from the MTA” about the performer.
Jazz Ajilo
Ajilo claimed he was injured in the arrest and that his saxophone and props were damaged.
Ajilo claimed he was injured in the arrest and that his saxophone and props were damaged.
Jazz Ajilo

Since taking office, Adams has vowed to crack down on subway rulebreakers and violations of the quality of life on the rails, and has made reducing violence in the transit system a top priority of his administration.

“No more smoking. Don’t do drugs anymore. no more sleep No more barbecuing on the subway. Don’t just do what you want anymore,” Adams said in February when announcing his new subway safety plan.

“No. Those days are over. Swipe your MetroCard. Ride the system. Get off at your destination. That’s what this government says.”

City Hall referred to a question as to whether the musician’s performance was the kind of offense Adams was trying to curb. The street musician could not be reached for comment.

Fans of the musician were outraged when they saw video of his arrest. One wrote in a YouTube comment that the NYPD “embarrassed itself to arrest anyone who brings happiness, fun and positivity into the world.”

Others called the takedown “disgusting.”

“Jazz Ajilo deserves justice,” wrote one fan.

“A disgusting and immoral display of thoughtless violence against a passive and bourgeois musician.”

Another said the video brought her to tears.

“I’m a grown man and I rarely cry, but this…I couldn’t help it,” the person commented.

“I’m sad, I’m angry and I don’t know what to do.”

The busker created a GoFundMe page to raise money for “legal fees” and “lost income,” which raised nearly $50,000 as of Monday afternoon. Beloved subway saxophonist arrested by NYPD: video


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