An irate commuter terrorized a fellow Metro bus passenger in a caught-on-video confrontation, apparently sparked because the senior citizen sat on him while trying to squeeze into the seat next to him.
It went down about 8 p.m. June 26 on a Metro 720 Rapid Bus, according to rider Erica Rodriguez, who posted the video -- titled "Elderly Man Assaulted on the 720 Rapid Bus" -- to her YouTube channel. The exact ages of the men seen in the video were not available.
An attorney who works in Downtown Los Angeles, Rodriguez was taking the bus home Wednesday night -- as she normally does -- when the fight started.
"It was definitely scary because you hear about incidents on the bus where people pull out guns, so I was, like, oh god, I hope this doesn't get worse," Rodriguez said.
She said the victim was sitting in a front seat, typically reserved for older and handicapped commuters. While the bus was moving, the victim switched seats and appeared to fall into a fellow rider while doing so.
Both men are seated at the start of the video, but then one of them abruptly jumps up.
Victim: “Don’t threaten me.”
Commuter: “I’m not threatening you, buddy. You just assaulted me.”
Victim: “I didn’t…”
Commuter, lunging toward man: “Yes, you did, you sat on me!”
At least twice, the victim can be heard asking someone to call the police, to which the assaulter replies, “I am the police!”
Hurling obscenities and using a derogatory term for a gay man, the commuter berates the older passenger for nearly 3 minutes.
Of the six riders sitting around the pair, one tries to intervene, telling the commuter to calm down. A passenger can be heard laughing in the background.
The bus driver chimes in twice over the intercom, at one point asking the men, "Do we have to call the police? Just let me know."
"The bus driver wasn't doing anything, so I didn't feel protected," Rodriguez said.
A spokesman for Metro said the driver alerted bus opertions, which is supposed to dispatch Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies to the scene.
"The bus driver did what he was supposed to do," Dave Sotero said.
Deputies were called off after the driver stopped at Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue and both men appeared to have left the bus, said Lt. Karl Schow, with Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Transit Services Bureau.
Rodriguez said most of the passengers, including the angry commuter, boarded another 720 Rapid Bus that happened to pull up behind the first bus.
Coincidentally, the fight happened the same day Metro unveiled its new security app -- which lets commuters document onboard problems and report them directly to Metro.
"Unfortunately these sorts of events happen on the system," Sotero said. "... We’re hoping that the public can help us to identify the perpetrator involved."
Schow said investigators want to speak with the victim. Because the older passenger left the bus, a police report was never filed.
"I really want to find him," Schow said. "... That's unacceptable."
Anyone who recognizes the men involved is asked to call the deputies at 323-563-5000.
Photo credit: biofriendly via Flickr
Warning: The video contains obscene language. To watch, click here.