Workers for New York City’s MTA are refusing to transport people arrested during protests against police brutality in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A video of a bus driver refusing to transport people arrested during protests in front of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center went viral Friday night.
In the video, a crowd cheers a bus driver who appears to be refusing to sit behind the wheel: “the NYPD is using a bus to transfer arrested protesters at the Barclays Center,” @berniebromanny, who shared the video, tweeted. “However, the bus driver refused to drive it.” The video was viewed more than a million times in just over an hour.
Motherboard has confirmed that this is the official position of the union that represents MTA bus drivers.
“None of our bus ops should be used for that. We didn't do it during Zucotti Park/Occupy Wall St. went to court against this,” JP Patafio, vice president of Transit Workers Union Local 100, which represents the city’s bus drivers, told Motherboard when asked if the union would transport people who were arrested.
“I told MTA our ops wont be used to drive cops around,” he added. "It is in solidarity" with Minneapolis' bus drivers.
In 2011, the union sued to prevent the New York Police Department from commandeering buses and forcing city drivers to transport arrested Occupy Wall Street protesters for the cops.
In recent days, bus drivers in Minneapolis have similarly refused to transport arrested protesters for the cops, and unionized workers across the city have shown solidarity with protesters who are demonstrating against the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality more broadly.
Aaron Gordon contributed reporting.