Video footage appears to show dozens of white supremacists brazenly evading fare for public transportation in New York City without any scrutiny from law enforcement for a crime that typically results in the disproportionate arrest of Black and brown people.
The footage of the so-called Patriot Front group members was recorded on Saturday at the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) station at the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.
It was posted to social media in the context of the white supremacists having difficulty understanding how to access the PATH via turnstiles through which riders must pass only after paying their fare first.
“Many thousands of #nyc commuters use these turnstiles correctly every day. But these white nationalist demonstrators who marched here on Saturday seemed to struggle with it,” photographer Ben Von Klemperer wrote on the social media app formerly known as Twitter.
Many thousands of #nyc commuters use these turnstiles correctly every day. But these white nationalist demonstrators who marched here on Saturday seemed to struggle with it. pic.twitter.com/xAq1OykYXV
— Ben Von Klemperer (@BVKImages) January 21, 2024
When someone responded to the post asking if the Patriot Front members were actually evading fare and not paying, Von Klemperer said he “didn’t see any valid permission granted” to the white supremacists.
The footage showed a clearly confused bunch of Patriot Front members unsure how to proceed through the turnstiles as bumbling apparent leaders passed around what appeared to be fare cards. Seemingly fed up with the apparent frustration building at being unable to figure it all out, a group of the Patriot Front members all began filing through one turnstile – which is likely illegal since the machines are geared to accept individuals passing through, not groups of people.
One Patriot Front member even decided he was just going to crawl under a separate turnstile.
“Fare evasion is punishable under the laws of New York and New Jersey,” the PATH website says. “Offenders are subject to summons or arrest.”
A message sent by NewsOne to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey seeking comment about the Patriot Front video footage was not immediately returned.
The group later marched freely in the streets of Manhattan alongside a light police presence.
Amazingly, despite the existence of a whole police station in the World Trade Center station and more police officers reportedly being assigned to patrol New York City’s subways, the video footage didn’t show any evidence of the presence of law enforcement surveilling a group that has been tied to criminal violence.
Of course, that kind of hands-off treatment has been nonexistent when it comes to Black and brown people being accused of the same crime, statistics show.
“Arrests and summonses for fare evasion have disproportionately fallen on Black and Latino New Yorkers, who, according to Stolper’s research, accounted for nearly three of every four people arrested and given summonses for fare evasion among incidents in which the police reported race or ethnicity,” the New York Times reported back in June.
In an example of that truth, a nonviolent Black teenager was manhandled roughly out of a Brooklyn subway station over alleged fare evasion in 2020.
— Pastor Ben (@BenjaminPDixon) February 6, 2020
That came one day after a viral video showed NYPD officers willingly allowing identifying members of the Proud Boys — a hate group aligned with racists — to ride the subway without paying their fares.
When the person filming the footage also attempted to walk through an emergency exit to gain access to the subway, an NYPD officer stopped them and told them to pay.
NYPD help Proud Boys commit fare evasion & then tell journalists to go back and pay for the fare. Everyone should see this video. pic.twitter.com/wrkPjFhQoq
— Brenna Lip (@LipBrenna) January 2, 2023
The Brennan Center for Justice has long warned about white supremacist links to law enforcement.
“Law enforcement officials actively affiliating with white supremacist and far-right militant groups pose a serious threat to people of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ people, and anti-racist activists,” the Brennan Center wrote in 2020 before underscoring the obvious conflict of interest with “a number of law enforcement officers across the country flaunting their affiliation with far-right militant groups.”
This is America.
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