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Emergency Response to MTA Purge of Homeless People in New York City

Resistance to NYPD


On Friday, February 21st, the MTA announced it was canceling its plans for the homeless sweep (see below). Which was great. But the NYPD would not respond to calls for similar clarification. We knew we couldn't assume they wouldn't be out there arresting people en we did not back down.

On Sunday, February 23rd, Picture the Homeless pulled together a rally and press conference outside NYPD headquarters. We were blown away by the turn-out on such short notice, with over 70 people joining us from some of our favorite ally organizations. "NYPD Commissioner Bratton, I'm sure by now you are well aware of the fact that this is not the same New York City that you policed from 1994 to 1996," said Board Member Jean Rice, at the press conference. "In 1996 there was no "Communities united for Police Reform." There was no Community Safety Act, passed by a progressive City Council over the veto of a rich and powerful mayor who represented the interests of New York City's reactionary status quo. Previously, you were free to exploit the victims of benign neglectand planned shrinkage as your elite WASP status quo turned our great city into a national sociological laboratory for an extremist right-wing backlash called "the New Jim Crow." But now, the very minority populations that you sought to criminalize and demonize hold the balance of this city's political power by their sheer numbers."

And on Monday, February 24th, at 3AM, we were out there. We mobilized teams of homeless people, friends and allies, legal observers, and cop watchers at the beginning and end of the E train line. We also sent teams out to ride each E train from end to end, monitoring and conducting outreach.

During the coldest winter in years, Bill Bratton and the NYPD are launching a "homeless round-up" on the subways.  But homeless New Yorkers are not broken windows.  The failed housing policies of the past and the extreme cold temperatures this winter are what's driving folks into the subways.

MTA Threatening a "Homeless Sweep": Take Action!

February 21, 2014

DNAInfo is reporting that at 3AM on Monday, the City will start purging homeless people from the subways, no questions asked.  Police and Transit workers will be stopping E trains at two stations: the World Trade Center and Jamaica, go into every car, identify all the homeless folks and make them leave the train.  This is supposedly to "help" people into a shelter or a hospital. But the NYPD will be on hand, presumably to arrest people who refuse to go. It's framed as an MTA response to the increased volume of homeless people during this bitter cold winter, but this is a police action, pure and simple targeting people who paid their fare, people who are not breaking any laws.

Some of our members have already written powerful responses, captured here on our blog. But statements are not enough.

Press Conference

On Sunday, February 23rd, we'll gather at NYPD headquarters to hold a press conference condemning this blatant violation of our rights.


3PM, Sunday, February 23rd


NYPD headquarters, 1 Police Plaza (4/5/6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall; behind the Municipal Building)

Direct Action

At 3AM, when the MTA is scheduled to roll out this new policy, we'll be on hand with legal observers to monitor the enforcement and ensure no ones rights are violated!


3AM, Monday, February 24th


  • Jamaica Center Subway Station, E Platform
  • WTC Subway Station, E Platform

We hope you can join us for either or both of these important actions. We knew that when Bratton returned as NYPD commissioner, bad policing was on its way - but if we fight back fast and hard, we can show him that a lot has changed in New York City since he's been away, and folks won't stand for profiling of any kind!

Learn more at

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