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Woman Handcuffed For Selling Churros In Subway Tells Of Incident To CBS2

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Another Brooklyn churro vendor has been cited by police for selling in the subway.

It happened Monday morning at the Myrtle Avenue-Wyckoff Street station.

The woman was found to have two previous outstanding warrants in Queens, for unlicensed general vending.

The churro vendor handcuffed Friday for illegally selling treats in the subway spoke out on Monday.

It's an issue dividing the city and shining a spotlight on health concerns over unlicensed vendors, and how to keep busy subway platforms clear, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported.

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The NYPD is responding to two viral videos showing officers arresting a woman for selling churros inside a Brooklyn subway station. (Credit: Twitter user SofiaBNewman)

Viral video shows the woman we now know as "Elsa" in handcuffs for illegally selling churros. On Monday, dozens showed up at the Broadway Junction Station in Bedford-Stuyvesant to support her.

Through a translator she acknowledged she's been issued more than a dozen summonses for unlicensed vending, but claimed this time it got violent.

As she teared up, she said in Spanish she "feels horrible."

The mother of five, with children in Ecuador, said police detained her for 10 minutes and took her food cart. She claims for the more than three years she's been selling churros, she never tried to get a permit, but she also didn't have any issues.

Incoming NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that's not so.

"The station manager and other people have complained," Shea said. "This is an individual that was well known to the police and has been told numerous times to not sell wares in the train station."

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Transit President Andy Byford agreed.

"It's against the law and it's creating congestion and she shouldn't have been there," de Blasio said.

"I'm supportive of New York City Police Department they give us huge support every day in keeping the transit system safe," Byford added.

Rozner spoke to other city leaders, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and state Sen. Julia Salazar.

Rozner: "What if this food or any other food got someone sick? How do you protect public health in these kinds of situations?"

"That's an excellent question and we shouldn't avoid it but we should apply it equally. I buy a lot of things from bake sales. I buy things from lemonade stands and I haven't heard people ask the same question," Williams said. "Nobody wants to be bombarded with people selling churros on train or homeless in subway. The question is what do we to do about it? And if we only send police we're not solving the root of the problem."

Rozner: "How do you suggest the city enforce health code rules?"

"I think that actually eliminating the cap on permits," Salazar said.

Rozner was told the vendor has now retained an attorney who will help her fight the multiple summonses she received in court.

The city Department of Health said there is a cap on issuing permits to food vendors. There's almost 1,500 people on the waiting list.

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