NYC’s Five District Attorneys Back Union Push To Raise Penalties For Spitting On Transit Workers

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The Transport Employees Union Native 100 is pushing the state to extend the penalties for spitting on transit employees. The union is looking on legislators to go a proposal to extend the crime from a violation to a misdemeanor, which might be punished with as much as a yr in jail.

This comes as transit employees report an uptick in assaults whereas on the job, and ongoing fears of catching the coronavirus at work. 

“That is about respect,” TWU President Tony Utano mentioned at a press convention in downtown Brooklyn Wednesday. “We’re uninterested in going dwelling with blood on our uniforms, we’re uninterested in getting spit on and never realizing whether or not we’ve the coronavirus, AIDS, tuberculous, it’s gotta cease.”

In 2019, MTA employees reported 212 spitting incidents. In 2020, with ridership beneath 80 p.c for a lot of the yr, 197 incidents had been reported. Up to now this yr, the MTA says there have been 17 spitting incidents.

One bus driver, who solely gave his identify as Paul, mentioned he was spit on whereas pulling right into a cease in Maspeth, Queens on Valentines Day this yr. 

“It’s humiliating, I haven’t even advised my household,” he mentioned to Gothamist/WNYC. “It’s irritating, you exit to do a job, and unprovoked, I simply pull right into a stand, any person comes and spits on you, it’s complicated.”

Paul mentioned a police officer that got here on the scene advised him he couldn’t do something as a result of he didn’t see the incident himself. 

If the regulation modifications, MTA employees would have the ability to press prices towards an assailant who spits on them.

The proposal seems to have extra momentum now, with district attorneys from all 5 boroughs supporting the laws.

Bronx District Legal professional Darcel Clark referred to as attacking transit employees insupportable. “Spitting on somebody is disgusting, particularly despicable throughout this hazardous time when it might probably result in very severe well being penalties,” she mentioned.

Clark defined if the change to the regulation passes, one factor that can make it simpler to prosecute folks is to have video proof. She mentioned it has been simpler to acquire prime quality video on buses than subways.

The laws has been launched in Albany by the Meeting, and the TWU is hoping will probably be handed as a part of the Governor’s Govt price range on April 1st. The rule would go into impact 90 days after it’s handed.

“The MTA is grateful to town’s 5 DAs for standing united with us and our devoted staff in calling for stricter penalties for spitting on transit employees – a disgusting and cowardly act of violence towards selfless heroes who’ve saved New York transferring all through this pandemic,” MTA Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg mentioned in an announcement. 

Feinberg mentioned the MTA is monitoring the incidents and mentioned the current addition of 500 extra NYPD officers ought to be elevated to 1,000 to guard the subways.

David Jones, President of the Group Service Society, who’s typically been important of the MTA’s use of extra police to implement high quality of life points, helps this push to extend the penalties for spitting. “We are able to’t enable it,” he advised Gothamist/ WNYC. 

“These guys are working too darn exhausting, they’ve a tricky sufficient job as it’s.”

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