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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Isaiah Thompson: New York City's Subway Menace

     In 2019, 23-year-old Isaiah Thompson, a resident of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, was well-known to the city's transit police as the infamous "Subway Menace." He was also known to subway riders as a dangerous psychopath, one of many reasons why descending to a New York City subway station involved using transportation of the last resort in a city becoming more unlivable by the day.

     In March, September, and November of 2017, police officers arrested Isaiah Thompson for what he called "subway surfing," the practice of traveling through the underground tunnels by holding onto the outside of subway cars. He was arrested again for this mindless activity in July 2018 when he attached himself to a C-train. He also amused himself that day by sneaking into the conductor's cab and pulling the train's emergency brake. That stunt caused a system-wide delay that involved 750 trains.

     In May 2019, Thompson exposed himself to a subway passenger, and not long after that, attacked a subway traveler with a knife. In an ideal world, repeat offenders like Isaiah Thompson would be taken off the street, sent to prison, or involuntarily incarcerated in a mental facility. But in New York City, offenders who make life miserable for people trying to go about their daily lives unmolested, are released after serving brief stints in jail.

     All in all, from March 2017 to May 2019, "The Subway Menace" had been arrested 17 times for offenses such as assault, spitting on people, pulling subway emergency brakes, subway surfing, and exhibitionism.

     On October 24, 2019, at the Jamaica 179th Street subway station, Isaiah Thompson pushed a 58-year-old man into the side of an idling F-train. A week later, a subway passenger at Brooklyn's Dekalb Avenue station in Fort Greene, caught Thompson on video violently pushing a woman from behind, sending the unsuspecting victim flying headfirst into an idling subway car. The victim managed to get back on her feet and stumble off before medics arrived at the scene. Thompson, following the unprovoked attack, ran off like a rat, disappearing into the darkness of the subway tunnel.

     On Thursday, October 31, 2019, police officers arrested Isaiah Thompson at his home in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Rather than deny any wrongdoing, Thompson bragged that he enjoyed creating mayhem and inconvenience in the New York subway system. Booked into jail for pushing the woman into the subway car, Thompson, based on his past experience with New York City's criminal justice system, had every reason to believe that in a month or so he'd be back creating mayhem and inconvenience beneath the streets of the city.

     The principal responsibility of local law enforcement is to maintain public order. When the leaders of a city are more concerned with the welfare of law breakers than the welfare of law obeyers, people either leave town, become prisoners in their homes, carry guns, or risk being victims of crime. This is no way to live, and no way to run a city.

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