This post has been updated with a statement from the BART Police Department at the bottom and a statement from the man who was harassed.
A passenger on the BART train in the Bay Area of Northern California captured a disturbing incident where an Asian man was verbally abused and physically assaulted.
In the now viral video, a drunk man can be seen signaling out the Asian man, first calling him a “n*gger”, then calling him a “Chinese n*gger”, among other racial slurs. The man then suddenly strikes him; noticeably, the unidentified Asian passenger doesn’t retaliate.
Soon after, the aggressor slaps him in the face, still hurling racial taunts at him. The Asian man stands up to defend himself, visibly yet calmly upset, but is stopped by other passengers trying to diffuse the situation. The video ends with the abuser getting off the train without issue.
Redditor pacmanwu, who shot the video, provided the following context:
“This happened last night (11/13/2017) when I was taking BART in the south Fremont direction, when this old white man started directing racial slurs to a fellow Asian passenger. I started filming this just in case there’s a need for visual evidence, and called the BART police right after the video was over. The Asian man never paid attention to him after that, and the old man left before the police arrived. Many passengers actually helped to prevent any further escalation, but none really tried to speak up and defend him (including me). I honestly didn’t know what’s the best course of action other than calling the police and collecting evidence.
“After looking at all the comments, I feel like I should have done more in defending him, but I was scared myself since I’m asian as well. I guess I’m a coward after all.
“I called the police after this, and many passengers actually did their best in preventing any further escalation. I was in the situation and honestly was scared of speaking up, since I didn’t know what I could do to help (other than starting a bigger verbal war and risked getting attacked as well).”
NextShark reached out to BART for comment; Alicia Trost, Bar’s Communications Department Manager, sent the following statement:
“We have sent this video to the BART Police Watch Commander. We are waiting to hear back from BPD about what calls came in and if we made contact with the suspect or anyone from on that train.
“The video captures an unfortunate, ugly scene. However, several things went right despite the belligerent and bigoted actions of one individual.
“Number one, passengers on board the train suggested contacting BART police. Again, we haven’t determined yet if that actually took place. But, contacting police is always the best course of action – the police are law enforcement professionals trained to handle situations such as this.
“Number two, the subject of the attack was deliberate in his response and reasonable in his actions.
“Number three, fellow passengers voiced their support for the victim without actually physically intervening.
“Number four, one of the passengers moved away from the attacker. This is always a good option – physically remove yourself from the threat until police arrive.
“Now, to put this into context, our daily ridership is about 420,000 people each weekday. Our “crimes against person per million riders” rate during the most recent reporting period (July through September) was 3.15 crimes per million riders.
“We understand we live in politically-charged, turbulent times. To reinforce our values, we’ve launched a Bay Area rides together campaign.”
A BART Police Department statement to NextShark said its “dispatchers received three calls at approximately 10:10 Monday night from riders onboard a Warm Springs-bound train reporting a disturbance involving a man, who did not appear armed, threatening a rider.
“BPD officers responded and boarded the train at Union City Station but none of the patrons on board the train were able or willing to point out the suspect,” it continued. “Initial reports indicate the suspect got off the train at the Union City Station. He has not yet been arrested. BPD is reaching out to the witnesses who called in the initial reports to gather more information for the on-going investigation.”
Witnesses and the victim are encouraged to contact BART PD Investigations at 510-464-7040. If you have any further information and would like to leave an anonymous tip, call 510-464-7011.
A Reddit user claiming to be the man who was harassed posted on Reddit, shedding a little more light on the incident itself:
“Ok so I’m half hoping noone sees this. That’s me he is “harassing”. This started because the old man was yelling the Nword repeatedly and noone was doing or saying a damn thing about it. I told him to stop talking repeatedly and that’s what’s caused him to start yelling at me. I am both proud and embarrassed that I didn’t hit him.
OP you were sitting with another Asian dude behind me, there was another Asian couple standing who didn’t say anything and after he got off Bart at Union City I asked for Hand sanitizer
Edit: I am extremely grateful to the woman for stopping me I was 5seconds from doing something stupid.
Edit 2: Anyone know Ellen? And just for clarification my username stands for In Jim Harbaugh We Trust.
Edit 3: Yay gold!!! Thanks to all of you for the kindness. I’m terrible at taking positivity and kind words so I will say thanks to you all. Honestly, I just had enough and didn’t want to hear his voice. In hindsight it was probably dumb as he could have had a weapon but I did what I thought was right. I guess I will say stand up for those around you but be smart and safe about it.”
Feature Image via YouTube / pacmanwu