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Police actually arrested people for ‘manspreading’

(Image via Flickr/nevermindtheend)

(Image via Flickr/nevermindtheend)

“Manspreading”—wherein men take up too much room in public spaces like the subway by spreading their legs apart—received a lot of attention earlier this year, partly because feminists are convinced that the whole phenomenon is a manifestation of The Patriarchy.

People were so riled up about the seat-hogs that the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority dropped $76,000 on a public campaign asking men to “stop the spread.” 

Now it appears that police have arrested at least two men for manspreading.

The Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) recently published a report, titled “That’s How They Get You,” featuring stories of  police “disrespect and abuse” they say come from court testimony or interviews. It includes this tale:

On a recent visit to the arraignment part in Brooklyn’s criminal court, PROP volunteers observed that police officers had arrested two Latino men on the charge of “man spreading” on the subway, presumably because they were taking up more than one seat and therefore inconveniencing other riders. Before issuing an [adjournment contemplating dismissal] for both men, the judge expressed her skepticism about the charge because of the time of the arrests: “12:11AM, I can’t believe there were many people on the subway”.

Technically, manspreading is only outlawed by MTA “when to do so would interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority’s transit system or the comfort of other passengers”—hence the judge’s skepticism.

PROP director Robert Gangi told the Gothamist that he suspects police are arresting over small infractions in order to meet quotas.

“My very strong sense, and I think other people see it the same way, is that it’s quota-driven,” he said. “These kinds of tickets or arrests are low-lying fruit, they’re easy pickings.”

The Gothamist pulled several other egregious anecdotes from the report, like police arresting people for having their foot up on a subway seat.

Keeping America safe, one subway seat at a time.

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