MTA IG helps harsher punishments for assaults on transit staff

Albany ought to cross a plan to impose harsher punishment on individuals who assault and spit on transit staff, the MTA’s in-house watchdog stated Wednesday.

MTA Inspector Common Carolyn Pokorny put her weight behind the proposal, buried in Gov. Cuomo’s price range, after a rash of attacks on metropolis subways and buses.

“Vicious assaults on our hardworking MTA colleagues can’t be tolerated,” Pokorny stated in a press release.

“Whereas violence in opposition to a few of New York’s transportation staff is already a severe crime, because the Governor’s 2021 price range proposes, it ought to be a felony to assault all of our frontline transit heroes.”

The proposal — which was included in Cuomo’s price range final 12 months however fell by the wayside when the COVID-19 pandemic began — contains language to make spitting or different types of aggravated harassment in opposition to transit staff punishable by as much as one 12 months behind bars.

It will additionally add extra positions to the record of transit staff it’s a felony to assault.

A proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2021 budget would make certain forms of harassment against transit workers come with a punishment of up to one year in jail.
A proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021 price range would make sure types of harassment in opposition to transit staff include a punishment of as much as one 12 months in jail.
Mike Groll/Workplace of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Present regulation solely covers public-facing roles akin to bus and practice operators, ticket inspectors, conductors, sign individuals and station staff. The proposal would add plenty of roles that don’t usually interface with the general public to the record, together with freeway and DMV staff.

Pokorny herself was the sufferer of an assault on the job whereas serving as a federal prosecutor in 2008. The notorious caught-on-tape assault concerned an alleged drug vendor pouncing on Pokorny with a razor as he entered the courtroom.

Officers on the MTA and its largest union, TWU Native 100, have additionally urged lawmakers to cross the proposal.

Will probably be negotiated with the state legislature together with the remainder of Cuomo’s price range, which have to be handed by the top of March.

The momentum comes amid of wave of violence within the New York Metropolis transit system — together with an irate passenger smashing a bus driver with a 2-by-Four in Brooklyn.

The primary 4 weeks of 2021 noticed assaults on seven bus drivers and two subway staff, in line with MTA information — a rise from seven the earlier 4 weeks.

One other 170 transit staff had been victims of harassment over the identical interval in January, in line with MTA stats — a rise of 23 % in comparison with December.