Question: What do you think is an appropriate punishment for a person attempting to jump a turnstile in order to get a free subway ride? I mean, clearly this isn't something that ought to go unpunished, as it's illegal and there are rules for a reason, but is pepper spray the best option? What about pepper spraying a 5-month-old baby and a 2-year-old toddler who happen to be with the person supposedly trying to get the free ride?
Marilyn Taylor is suing the NYPD, as well as the city, on the claim that she and her children were attacked by police officers after she took her stroller through a service entrance instead of going through a turnstile (something most stroller-toting New Yorkers do). According to Taylor, police got violent with her when they thought she was attempting to skip out on the fare, and wound up using pepper spray on both her and her kids.
At the time of the incident, Marilyn was with her husband, her 4- and 2-year-olds, and her 5-month-old. The 4-year-old apparently got upset at all the commotion, and when Marilyn bent down to comfort her child, the "aggressive" police allegedly began pepper spraying her, hitting the 2-year-old and the 5-month-old. The complaint reads: "The pepper-spray caused the children to scream out and choked the 2-year-old, who went into fits of vomiting." Taylor also claims she was handcuffed and pushed hard enough to bruise.
Obviously, this is just one person's side of the story, so it's hard to tell what really happened, but if Taylor's version winds up being true -- wow. This is some stuff right here. Not only is using pepper spray in close proximity to infant and toddler children a really bad idea, using pepper spray as a means to stop someone from getting a free subway ride -- if said person hasn't gotten violent -- is crazy, and a serious abuse of power. Unless Marilyn and her entire family had gotten completely unruly, I'm fairly certain they could have been "contained" without the use of Mace.
It's always a shame when we hear stories of authorities -- be they cops, doctors, teachers -- misusing the power that's been given to them. But when children are involved, it's just all the more worse. Hopefully, justice is served in this case -- for whoever is telling the truth.
What do you think of this?
Image via wstryder/Flickr