Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Port Authority Cops Hassle New Jersey Man Carrying Sealed Wine Bottles

This goes back to an incident that occurred this past New Years eve. Pavan Trivedi was carrying several sealed bottles of wine and attempted to enter PATH to go to New Jersey but was stopped by several Port Authority police, who treated him rudely and roughly. He was detained for more than an hour and issued a ticket.

The Port Authority allows sealed alcohol containers on PATH trains. A spokesperson says that those rules are overridden by public announcements during holidays, a spokesman said, claiming a public safety risk during the holidays, but there's no written policy in place. Open food and drink are prohibited.

From the reports, it appears that the ticket issued were not for possession of alcohol, and it would further appear that the officers involved overstepped their bounds and simply thought that they could get away with hassling Mr. Trivedi.

I regularly ride PATH and have often had bags searched by Port Authority police. It's not something I like, but I know that it's done to help keep myself and other commuters safe. Pushing this kind of nonsense undermines the faith in the cops to do their jobs properly and professionally. There was nothing wrong with Trivedi carrying those bottles, and they should have let him go on his way.

I expect Mr. Trivedi to prevail in court against the Port Authority, although I don't see him winning against the City of New York.

I further expect the Port Authority to provide a written policy on wine and liquor containers to avoid this problem in the future.

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