A New York City couple is suing the city after they say they were arrested for dancing on a subway platform after a night out at the popular Midsummer Night Swing event at Lincoln Center last July.
Carolina Stern, 55, and boyfriend George Hess, 54, were waiting for a train at the Columbus Circle subway station at about midnight when a musician began playing steel drums on the nearly empty platform, according to the New York Post.
"We were doing the Charleston," Stern, a dentist, told the newspaper. The couple, who say they frequently go out to dance, were returning from Midsummer Night Swing, the open-air dance series that comes to Lincoln Center each summer.
That's when two police officers approached them.
"They said, 'What are you doing?' and we said, 'We're dancing,'" Stern recalled. "And they said, 'You can't do that on the platform.'"
Police asked for identification, but Stern was only able to produce a credit card that had his picture and signature on it. The officers ordered the couple to go with them.
When Hess took out a camera to record the encounter, he claims police officers tackled him.
"Eight ninja cops came from out of nowhere," according to Hess, who said he was tackled to the platform floor and then cuffed along with Stern.
The initial charge, Stern said, was disorderly conduct for "impeding the flow of traffic," but she said there were only about three people on the entire platform.
The charges, including resisting arrest, were later dropped. But the couple has filed a Manhattan federal court suit against the city for unspecified damages.
"If you are surrounded by good musicians, that's going to make you want to dance," Stern told the Post. "The musician who is playing is legal, but... we're illegal?"
"When you're waiting for the subway late at night, there's not much to do but dance and celebrate life," she said.
The city Law Department told the newspaper it is reviewing the court papers.
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