A 27-year MTA veteran was jailed Tuesday, May 16, after refusing to open a security gate for uniformed NYPD officers chasing a shoplifting suspect, the New York Daily News reported.
The alleged thief ran into the 57th Street train station near 8th Avenue that evening as cops and security guards chased him from a Midtown CVS Pharmacy, officials said. The shoplifter jumped the turnstile and continued running with police in hot pursuit.
As NYPD Lt. Richard Khalaf ran down into the station, he waved at 57-year-old booth clerk Darryl Goodwin to open up the security gate. Goodwin failed to acknowledge him, however, according to police.
Court documents showed that Khalaf ordered the clerk to open the gate a second time but was still ignored. Goodwin finally responded after the officer ran over and slammed his police badge against the booth’s Plexiglass. That’s when Goodwin “stared at [Lt. Khalaf] for several seconds, grimaced and slowly moved his hand to push the button to open up the gate,” court papers stated.
Police said by the time the gate was opened, the suspect was long gone. No arrests have been made.
Khalaf then ordered Goodwin to present his MTA badge, but the clerk declined and tried to run out of the booth. After the cops managed to stop him, the clerk reportedly took out his badge and shoved it in the lieutenant’s face. Khalaf grabbed it, but Goodwin snatched it back, injuring the officer’s thumb, the newspaper reported.
Goodwin was charged with obstructing government administration, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. He was later released without bail on Wednesday, May 17. An agency spokesman said Goodwin was suspended without pay pending an investigation.
The clerk disputed the officers’ version of the events and said he didn’t see the alleged shoplifter.
“I had a passenger. I was busy,” he told the New York Daily News. “They shouted ‘gate,’ but lots of people shout ‘gate,'” Goodwin told the Daily News. “They said I didn’t open the gate, but I did.”
The Bronx man went on to say he was just trying to show Khalaf his badge, so he was surprised at the assault charge.
“I guess I held it too close,” Goodwin said. “The other cop pulled my arm back and I reacted. If he got cut with the badge, he did it himself.”
The newspaper reported that Derick Echevarria, vice president of stations for the Transit Workers Union, was just as stunned by Goodwin’s arrest.
“He’s an exemplary employee … not a passenger complaint in the past 20 years,” Echevarria said of the clerk. “It’s a misunderstanding on the police’s part.”
“[Goodwin’s] a hardworking guy who does his job and does it properly.”