Fifty-two-year-old Michael Kneitel is a man of principle. He will not rest until the $75 ticket he received for using the door between subway cars to escape a pissing passenger is overturned.
Kneitel encountered an all-too familiar scene when he a boarded a Coney Island-bound F train this past February, he tells DNAinfo: the doors had already closed when he realized that a man, apparently homeless, was peeing in the car. Desperate, he fled to through the car’s door to the next subway car, where he was greeted by a police officer. Kneitel was ordered off the train and ticketed by the officer at the Jay Street-Metrotech station.
But the peeing man, Kneitel said, “constituted an emergency” and was “hazardous to his health.” While a dubious scientific claim, allow him to explain further:
Kneitel had to have surgery a few years ago after he suffered a bacterial infection in his heart. His physician has since told him to steer clear of bacteria-carrying fluid or particles, he said.
“I didn’t want to be subjected to his urine even for one stop because you can be infected in a heartbeat,” Kneitel said.
He tried to get the ticket and its $75 fine rescinded at the MTA’s Transit Adjudication Bureau, but the officer hearing his case was not having it.
“[Kneitel’s] desire to safeguard his health by separating himself from a passenger using the train car as a urine receptacle may explain his conduct, but it neither excuses it nor constitutes the type of emergency requiring immediate evacuation through the end doors to avoid imminent danger,” Rosanne Harvey wrote in her decision.
He was arrested in 2001 after an off-duty cop out for a run in Brooklyn noticed Kneitel firing a pistol at what later was revealed to be a photograph of his girlfriend’s mother. A search of his home and a storage facility turned up five rifles, 15 semiautomatic pistols, lots of ammunition, an S.S. uniform, a Nazi flag, blueprints of a vacant lot near Bill Clinton’s then-new office in Harlem, and a photo of Kneitel’s infant daughter covered in said S.S. uniform and with her finger on the trigger of a pistol.
(The Nazi memorabilia, he explained to DNAinfo, “was to fund my daughter’s college fund when she got older.”)
His only remaining method of recourse is a May 8 court date at the Brooklyn Supreme Court. “I’m going to stand up to the MTA and say, ‘You know what? You messed up,’” Kneitel told DNAinfo. “I’m going to take this ruling and stick it so far up their a-hole until it reaches the back of their teeth.”