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News ::
SUBWAY ARTIST ARRESTED (english)
23 Nov 2003
Modified: 25 Nov 2003
Friday night, November 21, 2003, Michael was arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away by MBTA Police after coming to the aid of a subway rider who was having a seizure.
SUBWAY ARTIST ARRESTED --This letter was sent by Michael Williams-Wright to Street Arts and Buskers Advocates. Michael is a gentle and generous soul, a talented musician, and an artist who plays in the Subways. He was a member of the group of subway musicians and concerned citizens from S.A.B.A. who visited with Legislators and their staff this past Thursday, November 20th. Friday night, November 21, 2003, Michael was arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away by MBTA Police after coming to the aid of a subway rider who was having a seizure.

Here is Michael's email via Mare Streetpeople:

Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 10:18:35 -0500
To:
Subject: MBTA Police Arrest Musician!!!

From: Coolreeder1 (at) aol.com
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 08:11:59 EST
To: mail (at) communityartadvocates.org, Coolreeder1 (at) aol.com
Subject: MBTA Police Arrest Musician

Good Morning Stephen

My name is Michael Williams-Wright and I spoke to you at the Middle East during the meeting you organized for the Street Musicians.

You might remember me from playing Harmonica for Kevin Macnamara.

Last night about 8:30pm I was breaking down from playing a few hours at Downtown Crossing T stop on the Orange Line, when I noticed a young man having what, seemed to me, convulsions of some sort and losing his equilibrium. He started falling backwards, and I rushed over to him to help break his fall. At that point I realized that he was having a seizure. I ran over to the T booth and yelled for them to get help.

In a surprisingly short period of time the EMTs were there to examine him. About 5 min. after the EMTs arrived the MBTA Police got there. (This is where it gets good!)

I at that point continued to pack up my equipment, and as I was packing I mentioned to the T officer that this was a perfect example of how we (street musicians) were an asset to the security of commuters in the T, and not a security risk. He looked at me with a very unsympathetic glare, at which point I continued to speak to a commuter who was sitting next to me as I packed. I told the commuter that we had an online web site if he was interested in signing our petition online (I realized that asking him to sign the petition I had with me might not be the best idea at that time). The officer overheard our conversation, and told me I couldn't tell commuters about our online petition on T property!!

At this point I reminded him of my "Right to freedom of speech," at which point he ordered me out of the station. I responded by telling him I paid a dollar to come into the station and was taking the train to go home. I then proceeded to the Red Line. He followed me and told me I was "Trespassing" and had to leave the T immediately, and escorted me from the station. As we left I asked for his badge number, which he gave me.

I live in Arlington and being that I paid my fare to get into the T, I decided to walk above ground to "Park St. Station."

As I started to lug my equipment down the stairs at "Park St.," I heard yelling and noticed that the same officer had followed me to Park ST.!! (Aren't these guys supposed to be looking for criminals?)

He was very upset that I was attempting to get home by way of T and put me under arrest for........you guessed it, Trespassing!!!!

I was handcuffed (much to tightly! My left thumb is still numb from him putting the cuffs on me sideways!!) and brought to the police station, where I sat for about an hour and a half.

I posted bail ($40 dollars, $20 of which a commuter gave to me as I was being escorted from Downtown Crossing)

WHAT THE HELL CONSTITUTES TRESPASSING???

Can any T officer say your trespassing because he has a personal problem with the way you look, talk, walk, smile, whistle...........!!!!

I am due to go to court Monday morning, 11/24/03 at 8:30 am. (B.M.C. 90 Devonshire St. Boston, Ma.)

You might want to keep track at what happens in this case. I believe that I was discriminated against due to the fact that I'm a street performer. I also feel there were no grounds whatsoever to impose an order of trespassing on me.

I am interested in your views about what happened. I also would like any info you can give me related to obtaining legal counsel in this case.

Please email me: coolreeder1 (at) aol.com

Thanks for your time, Michael Williams
See also:
http://communityartsadvocates.org/saa-mbta-subway.html
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Comments

This is just the beginning. More will come. (english)
25 Nov 2003
The anarchists who are hanging out there are drawing attention to the harmless street musicians and other innocent people in Harvard Square. One particular anarchist comes to mind: a chubby, curly haired moron who hangs out with five people and passes out bumper stickers. He is under a Federal Investigation and therefore is calling attention to all others there. Get rid of him, and the others will be safe.