A video went viral on Twitter featuring multiple members of the New York City Police Department arresting a delivery worker for being out past curfew on Thursday evening. Based on the guidelines implemented in New York City, which issued a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through June 8, food delivery workers are exempt. They are considered essential workers.
New York City released an official document on Tuesday that clarified how essential workers are exempt from the curfew. It states, “Workers who are performing essential work are permitted to travel to/from work and to be in public while performing their job duties. Essential work is work that is permitted under ESDC guidance.”
While multiple police officers are seen in the video handcuffing the essential worker, the delivery man tries to defend himself. He says, “Are you serious? Look! I’m not even doing anything. It tells me on the app to show you guys something. It tells me to show you that you can’t arrest me. You are serious? For real?!”
This delivery guy thought he’s an essential worker, police seemed to disagree. The rules issued before the curfew very unclear but according to the state, restaurants, bar & food industry workers are classified as essential. #nycurfew #NYCPolice pic.twitter.com/OyZVuDkPuM
— Kirsti Karttunen (@KirstiKarttunen) June 5, 2020
According to the New York State Department of Economic Development, known as Empire State Development (ESD), which was updated as recently as June 4, restaurants and bars that offer take-out and delivery are listed as “Essential Retail.”
New York’s official document on curfew guidelines explicitly spells out these rules, as well. “Can restaurants and bars serving food make deliveries during the curfew? Yes. Food deliveries are essential under the ESDC guidance.”
The woman who posted the video, Kirsti Karttunen, tweeted that she shot the arrest shortly after the 8 p.m. curfew began. “8.25 p.m. at 109 w & Central Park West. Unfortunately, there’s not much more I know, other than he was arrested and one officer took care of the bike – what happened after, I’d very much like to know myself, too.”
At Least 3 Commanding Officers Were Seen Assisting the Arrest of the Delivery Man
NYPD officers arrest an essential worker—his Caviar bag is sitting by his bike, 27 min after curfew at 108 and Central Park West in Manhattan
city and state officials assured essential workers they are exempt
at least three white shirts (commanding officers) are present pic.twitter.com/92aI7UdODU
— peter hess (@PeterNHess) June 5, 2020
In a second video shot around the corner from where the delivery worker was stopped on Central Park, it appears that there were three commanding officers and multiple police officers to assist during this arrest.
Mayor Bill de Blasio Tweeted Out an Apology After Seeing the Delivery Man’s Arrest Video
Great reporting and analysis by @chrislhayes.
Several videos of NY police abuse against peaceful protesters, including documentation by journalists.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) June 5, 2020
While the video of the delivery worker getting arrested went viral on Twitter, many users online tagged New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio to take some action and make things right.
Just after midnight, de Blasio tweeted, “Just got off the phone with @NYPDShea after seeing the troubling video of a delivery worker arrested by police while doing his job. This is NOT acceptable and must stop. Food delivery is essential work and is EXEMPTED from the curfew.
“Same goes for journalists covering protests and out doing their jobs,” de Blasio continued. “They are essential workers, too. We WILL protect their rights. The public depends on the information they provide. Will get NYPD to fix this immediately.”