New York City - A Metropolitan Transportation Authority booth clerk refused to open a security gate for two uniformed NYPD officers chasing a shoplifting suspect, and then got physical with one of them, resulting in the suspect's escape.
The incident occurred about 8:30 PM Tuesday at the 57th Street train station near Eighth Avenue. NYPD police officers and Midtown CVS security guards chased a shoplifting suspect into the train station, according to CBS New York.
The suspect jumped the turnstile, never looked back, and kept running. NYPD Lieutenant Richard Khalaf was in foot pursuit of the suspect and waved at the MTA booth clerk, Darryl Goodwin, to open the gate. Goodwin didn't acknowledge him.
Lieutenant Khalaf demanded a second time that Goodwin open the gate but Goodwin, age 54, continued to ignore him. He then ran over to the MTA booth, took off his NYPD badge, and rapped it on the window. A second team of officers arrived and were also denied entry.
Court documents said that Goodwin finally “stared at the lieutenant for several seconds, grimaced and slowly moved his hand to push the button to open the gate,” as Lieutenant Khalaf stood in front of him. It was too late - the shoplifter was long gone.
Lieutenant Khalaf demanded that Goodwin identify himself, but he refused to do so, and tried to leave the booth. When he was stopped by officers, Goodwin pulled out his badge, and shoved it into Lieutenant Khalaf's face.
NYPD Lieutenant Khalaf grabbed the badge, and Goodwin tried to take it back, resulting in a struggle over the badge. Lieutenant Khalaf's thumb got cut when Goodwin snatched it back.
“I guess I held it too close. The other cop pulled my arm back and I reacted,” Goodwin told New York Daily News. “If he got cut with the badge he did it himself.”
Goodwin was charged with obstructing government administration, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. He was released with bail after a brief arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday, May 17.
He is a 27-year employee of the MTA, and has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. His version of what happened? "I had a passenger. I was busy. They shouted ‘gate,’ but lots of people shout ‘gate.'"
He denied the assault charge, and said that he was trying to show the NYPD officer his badge at a really busy time at the station.
NYPD Police officers are supposed to be issued metro cards so they can gain access in the station at any time; it is unknown if these officers had one.
Derick Echevarria, vice president of stations for the Transit Workers Union, defended Goodwin and said that he was an "exemplary" employee, who had not had problems in the past.
“(Goodwin’s) a hardworking guy who does his job and does it properly,” he told New York Daily News. “He has other parts of the job than opening the gate for people who have a card to swipe themselves in.”
It looks like Darryl Goodwin's uncaring attitude was the what caused him to help the suspect by not letting officers though, and that attitude is shared by his union.
Thankfully, it was only a shoplift suspect who escaped and not a rapist or killer.
Do you think that there's any excuse for not letting the officers through? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.