Music Notes|

Photo: Jazzajilo’s arrest | By Clayton Guse, Graham Rayman, New York Daily News | A saxophone player who’s been a fixture in the Herald Square subway station on Thursday was surrounded and handcuffed by four cops who snatched his horn and dragged him off while he was performing, officials said.

Busker John Ajilo, who goes by the moniker “Jazzajilo,” was grabbed by police for allegedly violating MTA rules including “interfering with passenger movement,” using a speaker and ignoring a sign, officials said. He was also summonsed for “panhandling in transit” and disorderly conduct.

“I’m not committing any crime. I’m not committing any crime,” he said.

And then as cops moved in and grabbed his arms, he began screaming, “Help me! Help me!” The officers yanked his arms behind his back as he tried to hold on to the saxophone. One cop grabbed the saxophone from his right hand.

“I wasn’t doing anything wrong, leave me alone!” he shouted. “Why are you arresting me? What did I do wrong?”

Five officers forced him to his knees as Ajilo continued to shout, “Help me!” The cops finally dragged him off.

Ajilo also often performs at the Port Authority subway station on the A/C/E lines.

The drama began when a ticket agent at the 34th St.-Herald Square station complained Ajilo was taking up too much space at his spot in the station, MTA officials said.

The NYPD said “multiple complaints” were made about the musician. Cops found a “large display” of crates, mechanical animals and a speaker system. In a statement, the NYPD justified the arrest by saying Ajilo “was given multiple warnings” to leave the location, but refused to cooperate.

Ajilo was given the four summonses and released with his possessions. He says his saxophone and some of his mechanical toys were damaged.
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Fans of Ajilo quickly offered to help, raising $78,905 for his GoFundMe page by Monday night.
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Ajilo wrote that he is due in court 9:30 a.m. July 13.

“Four pink tickets to top it all after overnight in the cell all for a struggling subway street musician trying to take care of family,” Ajilo wrote. “Thank you Police officers for really improving my life.”

Read the whole story here:

[Editor’s note: Uh, before we go to getting to feeling too sorry for Mr. Ajilo, a photo of the scene shows a “junk yard” of his stuff with at least 8 battery-powered dancing toys spread out on the walkway of the station and on top of his equipment cases. Think “Prolia” commercial. I don’t agree with the way this was handled but Mr. Ajilo’s stuff was a danger to passers-by. Perhaps contacting a relative of his to discuss this matter first might have been a better option because he obviously wasn’t listening to the authorities. ~ Barb]

Go here to see a photo with some of the stuff Mr. Ajilo has spread out:

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