The “War on Street Artists” – Puppeteer Unlawfully Arrested and Harassed in NYC Subway

The following story is the latest in a series of articles I have written recently highlighting the over-prosecution and legal harassment of the poor and disenfranchised across the USA. While wealthy white collar criminals rape and pillage society with total immunity, those who have no voice are being increasingly stomped down upon by an unjust system. Some recent articles on the topic can read below:

Hyper-Sensitive Illinois Mayor Orders Police Raid Over Parody Twitter Account

Charleston Man Receives $525 Federal Fine for Failing to Pay for a $0.89 Refill

The Homeless in NYC Are Now Living in Tiny Spaces in the Frame of the Manhattan Bridge

In some of these cases, there is a ridiculous law on the books to allow such over-prosecution or harassment, while other times, such as in the case below, the cops appear to be making shit up and are acting completely outside of the law.

As someone who grew up in New York City and lived there for 28 years, I am quite familiar with street artists in America’s largest metropolis.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed them. Some are extremely talented, others not so much, but they always added to the unique character of the city and only rarely posed any sort of threat or engaged in threatening behavior. This is why the following story and video really struck an emotional chord with me and I became overcome with sadness. In so many ways, what happened to Kalan Sherrard is what is happening to our country and culture in general. We are being collectively transformed into drugged out, bland, soulless zombies by a parasitic and incredibly corrupt financial system coupled with unrelenting corporate and government propaganda. Anyone who is interesting or stands out is shouted down by the establishment as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “radical,” or as Harry Reid himself recently stated, a “domestic terrorist.”

Make no mistake about it, what just happened to Kalan Sherrard is happening to us all. It’s just that many of us don’t see it yet.

The New York Daily News reports that:

Kalan Sherrard was in the middle of another of his nihilist-anarchist puppet shows in the Times Square subway station April 6 when cops slapped him in cuffs and charged him with disorderly conduct for creating a hazardous condition.

Now, the performance artist from outside Seattle is considering a lawsuit against the NYPD for what he considers an unlawful arrest. The episode was captured by a friend filming a documentary of the show, which Sherrard refers to as “not happenings.”

“It’s obvious in the video I’m not impeding anybody’s access,” he said. “They told me I was violating subway rules, but when I asked what rules they wouldn’t tell me.”

An NYPD spokeswoman confirmed the arrest.

“He was observed obstructing the free flow of traffic at the subway,” the spokeswoman said. “He was placing dolls and objects on the mezzanine walkway.” 

When you watch the video you can see clearly he wasn’t obstructing anything and it was 1am.

The whole ordeal is another example of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s crackdown on subway performers, Sherrard said, noting that he is a member of BuskNY.

“We’ve definitely on an organizational level noticed that police harassment has really skyrocketed,” he said. “Like three times more people are being hit.”

The NYPD confirmed Sherrard’s impression: transit cops have arrested 416 people have for panhandling or peddling this year, compared to 154 during the same period last year. That’s an increase of 170%.

Yet not a single banker cuffed. Got it.

Gothamist also covered the story, but from the legal angle. It reports that:

Section 1050.6 of the MTA’s Rule of Conduct explicitly permits artistic performances in transit facilities, providing they do not obstruct pedestrian traffic, are at least 50 feet from a marked MTA entrance, 25 feet from a token booth, and aren’t part of aggressive solicitation schemes. Puppeteer Kalan Sherrard appeared to be abiding by the law while he was performing in the Times Square subway station shortly before 1 a.m. on April 6th, but the police arrested him anyway.

An NYPD spokeswoman says Sherrard was charged with disorderly conduct for “creating a hazardous condition” and obstructing pedestrian traffic. “He was placing dolls on the mezzanine walkway…the dolls had mutilated faces, were encircled with chalk. They obviously had no legitimate purpose.”

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg declined to say whether Sherrard was violating the MTA’s code, citing the agency’s policy of not commenting on NYPD enforcement actions in the subway.

Now watch the video. You tell me, what sort of society arrests a guy like this, yet let’s criminal bankers rape and pillage at will?


In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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11 Comments

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  1. Hi Mike,
    I haven’t been able to see the video yet but that doesn’t surprise me in California years ago they would stop a person riding a bike across a drive way just for an excuse to harass them and check them out. My youngest son was about 13 or 14 and he and 2ohis friends were riding their bikes going to another friends house and got stopped and searched at a gas station for being suspicious when they got candy and a soda and according to the officer 2or more kids couldn’t go around town or hang out at school as it was considered gang activity, the thing is these kids were so skinny and did t look or dress in anyway like gang members that even the gas station cashier tried to tell the officer they weren’t doing anything so he desides to check to see if there bikes are stolen all because they looked like mom and or dad was poor this has been going on since my sons started school and if my oldest son were still alive he would be 39 yrs old this year I’m now disabled and still poor but that’s ok because I’ve read the end of the book and the meek/ poor will inherit the earth and all the oppressors will be made the footstool of our Lord and Savior and we will all get to see it happen. So while they may make life hard for us now but their pay back is coming and all their money can’t save them, that just makes my heart feel good how about yours? God Bless

    • 1 AM? Get that 1 AM? Rush Hour? QUOTE: When you watch the video you can see clearly he wasn’t obstructing anything and it was 1am.

  2. sorry but there is nothing new or shocking about this. you are not allowed to perform in the subway without a permit. there are pubic safety issues that are caused by the crowds that performers attract. usually they warn the performers and only arrest the repeat offenders. i don’t think you understand how crowded it gets down there during rush hour. these performers really are a menace.

    • Michael Krieger

      I guess you didn’t read this part:

      Section 1050.6 of the MTA’s Rule of Conduct explicitly permits artistic performances in transit facilities, providing they do not obstruct pedestrian traffic, are at least 50 feet from a marked MTA entrance, 25 feet from a token booth, and aren’t part of aggressive solicitation schemes. Puppeteer Kalan Sherrard appeared to be abiding by the law while he was performing in the Times Square subway station shortly before 1 a.m. on April 6th, but the police arrested him anyway.

      Furthermore, I lived in NYC for 28 years and used the subway system for most of that time. So yes I know how it is at rush hour. This also happened at 1am.

    • if you lived here, then i guess you know that when a cop asks you to move, you move and don’t mouth off. the cop clearly asked him to move. the subway is not public space like a street or a park and the transit cops have the right to decide what is obstruction. i hope the sharrard doesn’t waste his money with a lawsuit. he will lose.

    • jawohl, when the gestapo asks for your papers, you better hand them over right?

    • What a stupid reply! No wonder the US is in the state it’s in!
      Being a cop does NOT automatically make you right.
      #sheep

  3. i may be wrong about requiring a permit but i believe that you need a “music under new york” permit to perform in the times square station.

  4. “This is why the following story and video really struck an emotional chord with me and I became overcome with sadness. In so many ways, what happened to Kalan Sherrard is what is happening to our country and culture in general. We are being collectively transformed into drugged out, bland, soulless zombies by a parasitic and incredibly corrupt financial system coupled with unrelenting corporate and government propaganda. Anyone who is interesting or stands out is shouted down by the establishment as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “radical,” or as Harry Reid himself recently stated, a “domestic terrorist.”

    No arguments here. I empathize with you perfectly on this. Sadness has permeated me. I remember a post you made awhile ago about in many ways wishing you remained ignorant of what is really happening. So true. To think where your life would be right now if you simply remained ignorant. Not saying it’d be for the better, just saying it is interesting to think about (you’d probably feel healthier!).

    In my case, I wish I would have never given gold and silver any merit–because the daily manipulation has made me realize what a farce every market in the world is….and once you realize this, it is nearly impossible to be a good investor ever again. And someday markets may be freed, but someday is a long way off….

    I know its not all about the markets….but it is a microcosm of what we have become: loss of freedom, free markets, individualism allowed to prosper, entrepreneurship, etc.

    It is a sad state of affairs no doubt.

  5. Homeland Security Ignores Report Of Potential Terrorism

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