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MTA Workers Push For Body Cameras, Citing Safety Concerns

Tony Utano and Andy Byford at the 2016-2017 Medals of Excellence Ceremony
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Tony Utano and Andy Byford at the 2016-2017 Medals of Excellence Ceremony Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

The Transport Workers Union Local 100 and MTA president Andy Byford called for body cameras for MTA workers, in order to better identify and arrest people who assault MTA workers. Just this past weekend, three people assaulted an MTA subway conductor after missing their stop because the train went express. The incident, caught on video, shows the assailants trying to pull the conductor from his cabin, punching him, and throwing beer cans at him. No arrests have been made.

“I’ve been here long enough to see that everyday, pretty much, people are verbally assaulted, they’re spat at, they are punched, they are threatened,” Byford said at a press conference in front of the Bowling Green station, reports the Daily News. “That is unacceptable.”

Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano said that wearing body cameras would be voluntary and that they would not be used to discipline or monitor the workers. The MTA would pay for these cameras.

“An attack on one of our employees is an attack on all of us—and this kind of conduct against the women and men who move millions of New Yorkers every day is unacceptable,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said in a statement, reports the NY Post. “We are going to work with our union partners and law enforcement to do everything we can to not only catch and prosecute the perpetrators but to also prevent these horrible incidents from happening.”

The Transit Workers Union stated that abuse of transit workers is rising. They cite an 11% increase of bus and subway worker harassment in the past year. More serious misdemeanors and felony assaults increased for subway workers, but fell for bus drivers.

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