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Friday’s Headlines: Migrants and Mopeds Edition

NYPD officers staged an early morning raid on unlicensed mopeds parked outside a Bushwick migrant shelter. Plus more news.

12:03 AM EDT on September 8, 2023

Video still courtesy of THE CITY|

Cops with tasers seized illegal moped and arrested six people at an early morning raid outside a migrant shelter in Bushwick.

The talk of the town on Thursday was Mayor Adams's comments on the city's struggle to meet the needs of the many thousands of asylum seekers who have arrived here in the last year-and-a-half.

Adams's controversial and arguably xenophobic declaration that "this issue will destroy New York City" prompted outrage among the city's immigrant advocates and progressive pols — as did an early morning NYPD raid outside a Bushwick migrant shelter where, according to reporting by The City, cops' attempt to confiscate illegal mopeds "quickly escalated with officers wielding stun guns and shoving migrants to the ground before leaving with six men in handcuffs."

Reports Gwynne Hogan:

As men tried to move their mopeds, officers began shoving migrants to the ground, and welding stun guns at the increasingly agitated crowd. 

Stun guns can be heard in a video obtained by THE CITY, and several migrants said they saw police use the device on one man. 

Police arrested six people, an NYPD spokesperson confirmed, charging them with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and other charges. Three of the men were also charged with assaulting a police officer, the spokesperson said.

Unlicensed mopeds proliferated on city streets in recent years, and seem to be ridden by New Yorkers of all creeds and origins, not just migrants. For that reason, it's odd and even sinister that NYPD targeted the shelter — the place the Adams administration provided for and directed these newcomers to live.

Delivery workers have long been exploited and harassed in New York City, something worker advocates had hoped e-bike legalization would end. Given the amount of illegal mopeds used for deliveries across the city, it defies the mayor's stated desire for migrants to find jobs to take the vehicles they use for work, as Council Member Jen Gutiérrez noted.

“This mayor can’t have it both ways, saying, ‘We care about you and want you to thrive’ while at the same time targeting migrant shelters in this way,” Gutiérrez told The City.

A humane and effective enforcement strategy would target shops all over the city that sell these illegal vehicles, as well as the businesses (and large tech companies) who use them to make deliveries.

In other news:

  • Surprise! Much-touted MTA R train service increase smaller than advertised. (Streetsblog, Daily News, Gothamist)
  • Climate protesters delayed the US Open on Thursday night for almost an hour. (NY Post, AP)
  • School began on Thursday, with a potential school bus driver strike still looming. (Gothamist)
  • The Tribeca Citizen goes NIMBY on a new bike parking structure near the Holland Tunnel.
  • Ex-DOT boss Janette Sadik-Kahn worries congestion pricing will flunk without accompanying street design fixes — as New York Magazine's architecture and classical music critic worries dedicated e-bike/moped lanes would "bring more of them." (Curbed)
  • MTA makes it easier for riders to unlock seven-day Metrocard fare. (Gothamist)

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