Brooklyn Law Student Fights for the Right to Drink on his Stoop

Andrew Rausa re-visits the scene of the crime.
  • Chester Higgins Jr. /New York Times
  • Andrew Rausa re-visits the scene of the crime.

Have you ever been hassled by an NYPD officer on trumped-up charges of drinking in public? Has someone you know? Fear not, because oppressed porch drinkers finally have our own Dark Knight, in the form of Brooklyn Law School Student Andrew Rausa.

Somehow, during one of the city’s most notoriously violent weeks of the year, local police managed to carve out quite a bit of time to hand out tickets for anyone caught drinking outside on the 4th of July, including Rausa and a group of his friends, who were knocking back a few Brooklyn Summer Ales on his Boerum Hill stoop.

When an officer gave the entire group (including one soda-drinker) summonses for drinking in public, Rausa said, “We were all kind of stunned for a second. It happened over the gate. it was a very tangible physical divide — when they said the words ‘public property,’ it just didn’t make any sense.” Rausa even pulled up the New York administrative code on his iPhone to show the officer that drinking behind a gate on a private stoop was not against the law, to which the officer oh-so-quotably told him, “I don’t care what the law says.”

And, unfortunately for Rausa, who plans to represent himself in court rather than pay the $25 fine, the laws on this issue are notoriously vague, a fact that has thwarted other, similar cases. Nevertheless, there’s still a chance his case could put an end to this needless persecution, and it’s high time the trod-upon, hard-working people of this city to finally stood up and said, “I’m drunk mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Feels better already, doesn’t it?

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  1. I wonder a cop would try to give you a ticket for visibly drinking on a sidewalk facing balcony, or do they just ticket people visibly drinking accessibly (on a stoop in front of a sidewalk).