SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Police are investigating an incident aboard a San Francisco Muni light-rail car Thursday night, in which two men were recorded on video appearing to attack a third younger Muni rider.
The incident, which has been circulating on social media, occurred around 8:45 p.m. Thursday on the N-Judah Muni line near Judah Street and 34th Avenue, police said.
The woman who took the video with her cell phone said she felt helpless as she watched the two older men violently try to throw a young man off the train.
She took out her phone and began recording hoping she might at least be of some help after the fact.
Lisa, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was horrified to witness the altercation.
“The two men are trying to kick him off the train. And they’re like pushing him and trying to shove him off,” she explained.
She gave the video to a friend to post on Twitter. It quickly went viral.
“It’s just over music. Like if you don’t like something someone is doing, you can talk to them in a different way, but you don’t have to use violence,” said Lisa.
She said the young man in the video was listening to music on a blue tooth speaker when the older man with the hat told him to turn it off.
“The kid says, ‘What do you mean? or ‘What you gonna do about it?'” said Lisa. “And that’s when the guy got up and put him in a headlock.”
She said first the two men threw the youth’s things off the train.
“He threw his skateboard off,” Lisa said, indicating the point in her cell phone video where the man is seen throwing the skateboard through the rail car doors.
But the young man got back on. So they held him in a head lock for several stops until other passengers intervened.
“She [a female passenger’ was like, ‘Just leave him alone because he’s a kid,'” said Lisa. “And that’s when these two men came to tell him, ‘Dude, calm down. It’s gonna be fine. Just let him go.’ And that’s when he let him go.”
She said the good Samaritans held them apart until the train stopped and conductor ordered everyone off.
“That’s when the kid got off and he started screaming, ‘Where’s my stuff?'” said Lisa.
She said the young man got agitated grabbed a man who he thought had attacked him and demanded his belongings back. Apparently the young man didn’t realize they had been thrown off the train blocks earlier.
But at that point, she said someone misinterpreted the situation and accused the young man of attempted robbery.
SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose addressed the incident on Friday.
“We did see the videos and we find them extremely disturbing,” said Rose.
Rose said there are several other videos taken from Muni cameras on the rail car that the transit agency would be handing over to police.
He noted playing loud music is a violation of Muni rules, but added, “Regardless of any rule that is not followed on Muni, it should never lead to any altercation.”
Lisa told KPIX 5 she was in contact with the young man who was attacked and said he did eventually find his belongings.
“I mean I don’t know what motivated the man,” she said. “There’s a lot of things on social media saying it was white privilege or racially motivated. All I know wit that it was not the right way to handle it.”
Rose said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
SFPD said they questioned both the man in the hat and the young man Thursday night. Both declined to press charges.