Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday again defended the arrest of a beloved subway saxophonist, telling reporters that the NYPD acted “appropriately” when they removed him from the Herald Square station.
“I am proud of these officers. They weren’t abusive. You didn’t yell at the person,” Adams said during an independent news conference when asked about the arrest.
“That’s how you make real police.”
The busker, known as Jazz Ajilo or the “Dancing is Happiness Guy” on social media, was performing at his usual spot on the station’s mezzanine level on Thursday when he was arrested by six police officers for blocking foot traffic and using a sound amplification device .
Police officers said the entertainer refused to comply with police orders to leave the venue and hand over his ID, so they grabbed his saxophone, handcuffed him and pulled him out as he screamed for help.
Adams, who has vowed to crack down on subway rulebreakers, vigorously defended the arrest, saying police did the right thing in linking the busking business to the Big Apple’s runaway transit system.
“The homeless living in camps have been there for years. People who don’t pay their fare have been doing it for years. People who disrupt and litter have been around for years. That’s the problem. We have a subway system that’s spiraling out of control,” said Adams, who also defended the arrest after news broke Monday.
“The order was: Eric, we have to bring back control. So a passenger called and said, “This person is taking up space on the platform,” which, by the way, can be very dangerous. So the police went and said, sir, ‘You can’t take up that much space. You have to organize that because if you [don’t] people can get hurt. He disregarded her.”
Ajilo, who always appears with a group of dancing, animatronic cats, was apparently told to leave three times, but he disobeyed orders, Adams said.
“We can’t have both. We can’t say we want order in our subway system and then when the police intervene, we say we don’t want that kind of order. No, I don’t send mixed messages to my cops,” Adams insisted.
“Be polite. Be polite, give people the opportunity to correct a condition, but if they refuse, take appropriate action.”
The comments mimic remarks he made on Fox 5 Monday night, where he said officers “weren’t being persistent” and were “taking the right action”.
Ajilo claimed he spent the evening in a holding cell and when he came out his saxophone and dancing cats were damaged. Police did not comment on the allegation and Adams said he received his subpoena, returned his belongings and was on his way.
“I say to the New Yorkers who ride the subway, this is not the place for clutter. It’s not a place where you can do whatever you want as a passenger,” Adams warned.
“Transit has rules, let’s play by the rules and my officers and yours will do so in a professional and courteous manner.
https://nypost.com/2022/06/28/nyc-mayor-eric-adams-defends-arrest-of-subway-saxophonist/ New York City Mayor Eric Adams defends arrest of subway saxophonist