Crime & Justice

Mayor halts Metro arrests for cell phone charging after KPCC report

Red Line at 7th Street/Metro Center.
Red Line at 7th Street/Metro Center.
Todd Johnson/KPCC

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Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered a halt Tuesday to arrests of Metro patrons who charge their cell phones after KPCC reported that three were arrested this year for plugging their phones into electrical outlets near a platform in search of a quick recharge

Garcetti — who is also Metro Chair — contacted Metro staff and ordered them to end such actions. Moving forward, Metro customers will be permitted to charge their phones unless it causes interference with Metro operations, the mayor said.

"This is simply common sense. I want our law enforcement resources directed toward serious crime, not cell phone charging," Garcetti said.

Metro officials had defended the arrests, saying riders were essentially stealing electricity, a violation of the penal code.

The riders arrested were also charged with other crimes, such as possession of drugs and counterfeit bills, Metro officials said.

“The electrical plugs are for maintenance use only, not for the general public,” Metro Spokesman Paul Gonzales told KPCC earlier this week. “It’s not free electricity.”

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Do you ride the Metro? Do you charge your phone on the platform? What do you think of this change of heart?