There can be a steep price to pay for those caught trying to slip past a subway turnstile for free, with a new report casting fare-evasion arrests in Brooklyn as examples of racial inequality. Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has more.
A skip of the swipe at a Bushwick subway station cost Corey Bates a lot more than a trip through the turnstile would have.
"I jumped it. When I came through, the police were hiding behind one of the pillars. So that's when they stopped me," Bates said.
His 2015 arrest landed the 34-year-old Brooklyn man in jail. And the job he was supposed to start that day?
"Lost it...lost it," Bates recalled.
A new report from the Community Service Society says such arrests point to how the NYPD polices fare evasion.
"Young black men between the the ages of 16 and 36 represent half of all fare-evasion arrests in Brooklyn but only 13 percent of poor adults in Brooklyn," said Harold Stolper of the Community Service Society.
The report used Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defenders Service data to contend there's a racial disparity in fare-evasion arrests.
The NYPD says otherwise and in a statement adds, "The NYPD assigns its resources within the transit system based on a number of factors, including level of customer activity; crime/quality of life conditions and citizen complaints. When offenses are observed, police officers are expected to address them. We take enforcement action against those individuals who commit the offenses."
But compared to 2016, fare-evasion arrests citywide are down by nearly 25 percent - with 4,000 fewer arrests through the first eight months of this year.
The most in Brooklyn came at the Sutter Avenue, Junius Street, Livonia Avenue and Atlantic Avenue stops in East New York and Brownsville.
"It's not the only area of concentrated poverty in Brooklyn. It just has higher fare-evasion arrests than other areas with similar numbers of poor adults," Stolper said.
The report comes after a campaign to get the city to pay for reduced fares for low-income New Yorkers stalled. City Hall could still fund it if the Mayor's so-called "Millionaires Tax" for transit improvements becomes reality.
"We think the city needs to redirect resources away from policing the turnstile to helping people get through the turnstile. Get to work, get to school," Stolper said.
As for Bates, he ended up without a criminal conviction. And he has a new job, which he says allows him to keep his MetroCard from running on empty.