Friday Subway Fracas

Civic Center
Photo by Flickr user skew-t

Muni rider David has this harrowing tale.

OK, here’s the story. I got to the Montgomery Street Station last Friday after work. The platform was swamped with people…some usual Muni fiasco, some dead train being removed from service somewhere. Anyway, I got onto the third train that came (the first two were filled to bursting).

I’m crowded into the back of the train with everyone else. NBD. At Powell Street this guy next to me (I’ll call him Slacker for purposes of identification) gets upset because a middle-aged lady pushed past him. Then Slacker gets all aggro at another poor guy who squeezed in behind him. Doors close and we’re off.

Slacker is now screaming in the face of the poor guy behind him, who is doing his best to defend himself. Suddenly, Slacker sucker punches him in the nose. People grabbed him while some other passengers and I grabbed Slacker. Everyone is screaming, “Stop! Stop! Stop!”

Well, Slacker will have none of it. He starts flailing around in our hands and manages to get me in the lower lip with his elbow. I don’t really know what happened next, but the next thing I know, Slacker is face-down on the ground with my knee in his back and another guy holding his arms.

The train doors open at Civic Center and everyone on our train screams to the people on the platform to call the police and get the train driver. Of course they stare at us like cattle. Mooooo? I pulled out my cell and called 911. The operator was an idiot, but I did manage to finally get two cops to come.

Now a noteworthy moment of civic pride takes place. The cop asks the guy who was punched in the nose to make a statement so assault charges can be placed against Slacker (who has been cuffed and hauled off the train).  The guy is reluctant, but decides to go with the cop. Everyone on the train cheers him. Then the other cop comes looking for anyone willing to be a witness. A commuter lady raises her hand and agrees. Everyone on the train cheers!

The whole thing probably took a few minutes but it was truly time standing still. When all was said and done, I realized that blood had sprayed across the back of my shirt from the guy who got punched in the nose. My shirt was now completely unbuttoned, and somehow my jacket had come off. Luckily someone on the train had collected my stuff for me and gave them back to me.

Crazy, right? We’ve all been aggro during a Friday commuting disaster, but because of slacker guy, our train was pulled out of service and everyone was forced to go up to the street and take buses and streetcars.

The best part was that Slacker (handcuffed and sitting on the ground in the train station) got to be abused by everyone who had to leave the station because of him. The cop just stood there and laughed.


  • Rachel

    Way to go David!! I love picturing you with your shirt unbuttoned, jacket “somehow” missing, with a knee in someones back! That is awesome. Kick some slacker ass.

  • David

    the real heroes are other folks on the train, especially the man who had the courage to file a report with the police and the women who agreed to witness. they broke free from the inertia of being a voiceless bystander. we can all make a difference in our own small ways.

  • Belgand

    So, uh, why were you unwilling to be a witness? From your story here you seem to have had a pretty good view of the entire event and you seem to believe that the woman who did agree was doing the right thing, so why submit it here rather than doing something that could actually make a difference?

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