An MTA clerk was arrested on charges of assault and obstruction of governmental administration after allegedly refusing to open a subway gate for a cop chasing a suspect last month, and now transit workers are calling his arrest "an attack against all the station agents."
According to a complaint from the Manhattan District Attorney's office, on May 16th, Darryl Goodwin, 54, was inside the token booth at the 57th Street train station near Eighth Avenue at around 8:30 p.m. when NYPD Lt. Richard Khalaf ran into the station chasing an alleged shoplifter from the CVS location on 57th Street.
Lieutenant Khalaf asked Goodwin to buzz him through the emergency exit gate after the shoplifter jumped the turnstile, according to the complaint, and Goodwin allegedly refused. Khalaf allegedly asked Goodwin two more times, and on the third time, "the defendant stared at Lieutenant Khalaf for several seconds, grimaced at Lieutenant Khalaf, and slowly moved his hand to push the button to open the gate," the complaint reads.
Khalaf says he was unable to pursue the alleged shoplifter, and when he asked Goodwin for his badge, Goodwin allegedly exited the booth and held it up "close to the face of Lieutenant Khalaf." When Khalaf pushed the badge away from his face, his partner "observed [Goodwin] twist the badge around while it was in Lieutenant Khalaf's hand," according to the complaint, causing a laceration to Khalaf's thumb.
That's the NYPD's account, but Goodwin's attorney said in court yesterday that Goodwin didn't immediately buzz Khalaf in because he was dealing with a long line of customers at the token booth. "He was working, he was helping another customer," his attorney Paul London said. "I believe that this lieutenant felt that my client intentionally disrespected him but it was nothing of the sort." London noted in court that Khalaf should have already had a MetroCard, since "law enforcement is provided with free Metrocards as well as keys to the access points."
Goodwin, who's a 27-year veteran of the MTA, also has the support of his fellow transit workers, a number of whom showed up at court yesterday. "This is an attack against all the station agents,” Derick Echevarria, vice president of stations for the Transport Workers Union, told reporters. He argued that Goodwin likely didn't notice Khalaf, because he was busy doing his job, and called Khalaf "an overzealous Police Lieutenant who got up on the wrong side of the bed."
"Darryl is a hardworking, quiet person who has an outstanding service record with New York City Transit over a 27-year career," Echevarria said. "His arrest was an outrage, and an overreach by someone with anger management issues, and we’re here to support our co-worker against these false charges."
When contacted for comment, the TWU directed Gothamist to a video posted on their website in support of Goodwin yesterday:
In May, Goodwin criticized the assault charge against him, claiming any injury sustained by Khalaf after Goodwin showed him his badge was accidental. "I guess I held it too close. The other cop pulled my arm back and I reacted," he told the Daily News. "If he got cut with the badge he did it himself."
In addition to assault and obstruction of governmental administration, Goodwin has been charged with resisting arrest. He's back in court on August 10th.