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VIDEO: NYPD's Homeless Outreach Forcibly Removes Straphanger for Sleeping

By Mathew Katz | July 3, 2014 4:47pm
NYPD Forcibly Removes Straphanger for Sleeping on F Train
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Warning: Video contains graphic language.

MIDTOWN — A man who said he fell asleep on the F train on the way home from work got into a violent struggle with NYPD officers assigned to homeless outreach — as officers trying to forcibly remove him when he resisted, according to court records and a viral video of the incident.

Christopher Brown, 24, was charged with assault and resisting arrest after officers from the NYPD's Transit Division Homeless Outreach Unit found him sprawled across multiple seats on the northbound F train at West 57th Street at about 4:18 a.m. on May 30, police said. The incident was first reported by Gothamist.

According to a criminal complaint from the Manhattan District Attorney's office, officers spotted Brown lying down on the train's bench and approached him.

In a 6-minute video that got close to 10,000 views on a single Facebook post alone, Brown is seen struggling with a pair of police officers who tried to handcuff and restrain him while the train idled in the station. As Brown shouted at them that he was only sleeping while on the way home from work, officers struggled to subdue him, according to the video.

"For what? For what?" Brown shouted in the video, which has gotten thousands of views on YouTube, Facebook and Liveleak.

"I'm coming from work, and they f--- with me because I'm sleeping. And there are bums that sleep on the train," Brown shouted to fellow passengers, who videotaped the altercation.

Eventually, two additional officers joined the fracas and put Brown in handcuffs, the video shows.

As he was led from the train, Brown urged a woman videotaping the incident to "Get closer ... record all of this, please," prompting the woman to read the arresting officers' badge numbers aloud. 

According to a criminal complaint, Brown shoved and struck one of the officer's hands with a closed first, causing the officer's hands to bleed and swell.

Brown was charged with misdemeanor assault, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, occupying multiple seats on a subway, placing his foot on the seat of a subway, harassment and three counts of disorderly conduct.

Brown was released without bail and is next due to appear in court on July 17.

Neither Brown nor his lawyer could immediately be reached for comment.

The NYPD declined to discuss the incident.

But in a press conference at NYPD headquarters on June 25, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the NYPD had begun an "across-the-board increase in enforcement on the subway, so called quality-of-life types of crimes," and added that "we’re about to enter into an effort to start dealing with the homeless population underground, which has in fact increased. We’ll be working with homeless services, the MTA, Homeless Outreach."

"That’s been identified as the No. 1 concern of the riding public," Bratton added.