New York City, NY

Opinion | Subway Performers Under Attack, Jazzajilo Wrongfully Arrested

Chelsea Reed

In a lame attempt to appear productive, the New York Police Department is now going after subway musicians, while crime is rapidly escalating throughout the boroughs.
New York City | Train StationMiguel Ángel Sanz

Sometimes referred to as the "Dancing is Happiness" guy or Jazzajilo, John Ajilo has been playing his saxophone and setting up his dancing cats in subway mezzanines for years.

If you have ever bounced out of the train station at 34th or 42nd street, chances are you have been greeted by the sweet sounds of his saxophone at some point.

Subway musicians are not required to have a permit in order to perform. As long as their performance does not interfere with MTA operations.

The MTA is proud to support and promote the arts and musical performances. Any musician is welcome to perform in the New York City subway system as long as they follow the Transit Rules of Conduct.

Which begs the question, how does a saxophone, roughly two flights of stairs away from a train, cause any disturbance?

John disclosed on social media that he was handed four tickets along with a damaged saxophone and the dancing cats he did receive back, were broken.

There are multiple disturbing videos that show five police officers surrounding John, which is odd since Mayor Adams recently said the officers would be patrolling trains alone.

In the videos we can see the street musician remaining calm, and smiling with the officers, clearly trying to diffuse the situation. Abruptly, one officer begins to detain John and the situation spirals from there.

While arresting one of New York City's most beloved street performers, the five officers managed to knock off his shoe and his hat. In one video, a female officer is shown pulling the saxophone from John's neck.

With all the chaos swirling around us, and the constant crime on the trains, what were these officers thinking?

After reviewing the guidelines MTA has provided for subway performances, John Ajilo does not appear to be in violation of anything.

As a devoted father, and talented musician, John works all day, every day, to support his family. He has four children with autism. And now, with his damaged and missing equipment, his ability to support them has been jeopardized.

The longstanding reputation of NYPD prevails, as unnecessary brutality continues to reign down on the good people of New York City.

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New York-based writer exploring politics and local events.

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