Towards the end of 2014, New York's Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) pledged to crack down on chunky thighed men who spread their legs all over the subway, promising "something new, something fresh". Perhaps it's the underwhelming vagueness of that slogan that meant the message didn't get through to passenegers. As the Gothamist reports, New York police officers actually arrested two Latino men on the charge of "man spreading" – it is against MTA rules to take up more than one seat.
The Police Reform Organising Project (PROP) is a group that aims to "create awareness about the current wasteful, unequal, and racially-biased police activity in New York City". It's compiled a report made from countless hours sitting in the city's courts monitoring how cases are handled. Buried within the PDF is this paragraph:
"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".
That's right, police officers arrested two Latino men after midnight for spreading their legs wide on the subway, although their friends and relatives will be delighted to know that the men will have the charges dropped provided they stay out of trouble. Arrests like this can be attributed to a "broken windows" policing system – a theory that says aggressively targeting low level crime will help deter more serious crime. Critics say that this is what got Eric Garner killed.
Officer Darren Wilson was not arrested for shooting Michael Brown, while two Latino men were arrested for manspreading. Maybe America really does need "something new, something fresh".