Enoch “Edsil” Cook said he was arrested for using the facility without being a bus rider that day, and for parking his bicycle in an unauthorized spot.
“[Cook] has been observed repeatedly lingering and loitering around the building. The officer’s job is to keep the building safe for our customers,” said NFTA spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer. Others say the transit officer overreacted.
“I can think of no reason that a person in passing could not use a public facility that was open to the general public,” said John A. Curr III, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Buffalo office. “I get really upset when police are targeting poor people.”
If the man was panhandling, I can see them asking him to leave. However, if he was just there to use the bathroom and not bother anyone, I think the police overreacted. Being poor is not a crime. However, downtown is filled with loiterers. Ellicott, Elm, and Allen Streets being among the worst. You can't walk two blocks without being approached for money. I'd like to see the police focus on the people smashing car windows and taking things out of them. They should be sent away for longer than they are (if they are even caught). But a 64 year old man on a bicycle should be allowed to use the restroom, in my opinion as long as he's not harassing others.