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Beloved subway saxophonist arrested by NYPD: video

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A beloved subway busker who regales commuters with a saxophone and a band of dancing, animatronic cats was arrested at a Midtown station as Mayor Eric Adams seeks to restore order to the transit system. 

The musician, known as Jazz Ajilo, or the "dancing is happiness" man on social media, was arrested at the 34th Street Herald Square subway station around 10:30 p.m. Thursday by six NYPD officers, according to police and video of the incident on the busker's YouTube page. 

The clip shows the musician having a conversation with the officers in one of his usual spots on the station's mezzanine, surrounded by his gyrating figurines, speakers and a rotating donation box, when one of the cops suddenly grabs him to place him under arrest. 

"Help me! Help me!" the musician cries as the cops wrestle with him and attempt to place handcuffs on his wrists. 

"Officer, why are you arresting me?" he's heard shouting. 

"What did I do wrong? I'm a musician … I've got four autistic children."

The saxophonist repeatedly screams for help as he wrestles with cops while they work to arrest him.

Subway musician Jazz Ajilo was arrested by six NYPD officers at the 34th Street Herald Square station last Thursday evening.Jazz Ajilo

The officers are heard telling him to stop resisting, but the conversation they were having before the arrest isn't audible in the clip. 

The busker later posted the video to his YouTube page and said he was arrested and given four tickets for "performing in the same spot" he's used on and off for the last five years. 

"The police always see me there everytime and they also cheers [sic] me on," the musician wrote on his YouTube page. 

"My wrist is injured from the tight handcuffs, Am emotionally depressed, and my body hurts." 

Once he was released and allowed to reclaim his property, the busker said his saxophone was damaged and his "dancers" — the animatronic cats and bunnies — were left broken and "incomplete," he claimed on YouTube. 

"And 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 and my four Autism / Autistic Children and the community musically," he wrote. 

Performing in subway stations is allowed, according to MTA regulations, but there are a number of code-of-conduct rules that buskers must follow, such as keeping the volume under a certain decibel level and not setting up too close to the booth. 

A spokesperson for the NYPD said they received "multiple complaints from the MTA" that the busker was "impeding pedestrian flow and utilizing a sound reproduction device" and came to the area to ask the musician to leave.

Ajilo pleaded with the officers as they placed him under arrest.Jazz Ajilo

"Officers … observed an individual with a large display of crates, robotic animals and a sound system obstructing the flow of pedestrian traffic through the subway facilities. The individual was given multiple warnings to leave the location in which no enforcement action would be taken," the spokesperson said.

The NYPD said after the busker was warned, he refused to leave the subway station and then failed to hand over identification when asked.

"An NYPD sergeant responded and reiterated the same directives to the individual. After exhausting all options with the individual he was placed into custody and removed to a police facility," the spokesperson said.

Police said the musician was given four summonses for disregarding MTA rules and regulations, panhandling in transit, impeding pedestrian flow and disorderly conduct.

They said he was released "shortly thereafter with all of his property returned to him" and didn't comment on the musician's claims that his saxophone and dancing cats were damaged.

The MTA confirmed a station booth agent complained to police that the busker was taking up "excessive space" and interfering with the flow of foot traffic.

"The MTA has rules of conduct that are for the safety of all riders and employees and are not optional. We appreciate the Mayor's and police commissioner's commitment to keeping New Yorkers safe by ensuring those rules are observed across the transit system," MTA chief safety and security officer Pat Warren told The Post in a statement.

Since taking office, Adams has vowed to crack down on subway rule breakers and quality-of-life offenses on the rails and has made reducing violence in the transit system a top priority of his administration.

"No more smoking. No more doing drugs. No more sleeping. No more doing barbecues on the subway system. No more just doing whatever you want," Adams said in February when announcing his new subway safety plan.

"No. Those days are over. Swipe your MetroCard. Ride the system. Get off at your destination. That's what this administration is saying."

City Hall deferred to the NYPD when asked if the musician's performance was the sort of offense Adams has sought to curtail, but during an appearance on Fox 5 Monday evening, Hizzoner said that it was — and vigorously defended the arrest.

"I'm proud of the action they took," Adams said.

"Listen, you got to follow the rules. That is how the system got in the way that it is now because no one was following the rules.

"[The officers] were not heavy-handed — they were patient. He was heavy-handed in ignoring them and then he became loud and disruptive to draw attention that something was wrong. Those officers took the right action."

The busker couldn't be reached for comment.

Fans of the musician were outraged when they saw the video of his arrest, with one writing in a YouTube comment that the NYPD "embarrassed themselves by arresting someone who brings happiness, fun and positivity into the world." 

Others called the takedown "sickening." 

"Jazz ajilo deserves justice," a fan wrote.

"A sickening and immoral display of mindless violence  towards a passive and civil musician." 

Another said the video brought them to tears. 

"I'm a grown man and rarely do I cry, but this… I couldn't help," the person commented. 

"I'm sad I'm angry and I dont know what to do."

The busker created a GoFundMe page to raise money for "attorney fees" and "lost income" that's brought in over $70,000 as of Monday evening.

Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan

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