SEPTA Investigating Arrest and Handcuffing of Man Holding Baby
UPDATE, 9:50 p.m., 6/26/15: SEPTA has released surveillance footage of the incident preceding the bystander video that shows one of its officers grabbing the man’s neck and throat.
ORIGINAL: SEPTA spokesperson Jerri Williams tells Philadelphia magazine that the agency is investigating an incident that was captured on video by a 16-year-old passenger during Thursday’s afternoon rush hour at the Huntingdon stop of the Market-Frankford El.
In the video, three SEPTA police officers are seen talking to a man who is seated on the train. The man is accompanied by a female baby, which only becomes apparent later in the video. The conversation between the man and the SEPTA cops appears to be calm.
At 1:08 in the video, a SEPTA K9 cop enters the train and places a handcuff on the right wrist of the man while he is still seated. As the man stands up, the child is visible, and he carries the baby off of the train as he is escorted off by police at 1:28.
What happens next is unclear, as is so often the case with bystander videos. It appears that police wanted to get the other cuff on the man’s left wrist, but he was still holding the baby. There’s a scuffle and lots of shouting as a crowd gathers and as more police arrive, some from the Philadelphia Police Department, all while the baby is in the middle of the tense situation.
Here’s what the mother of the 16-year-old who took the video had to say on Facebook:
So, this is the bullshit my son witnessed yesterday coming home from work. Dude’s crime? Paying $2.25 for the El, but carrying his daughter on his shoulders and not paying for her. Look at how small she is, and how he is treated by Septa & Philadelphia police, over $2.25!!! I thought Septa had a policy of allowing fareless riders the courtesy? I wish they would put hands on me while holding my kids!!! This police ‘entitlement’ mentality, which often leads to brutality, has got to stop!
But according to SEPTA’s Williams, the issue was not the child’s fare evasion but the man’s. Children of this age ride SEPTA for free. Williams says that she is working to obtain video from the alleged fare evasion as well as SEPTA surveillance video of the incident at the station.
Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Stanford says that his police were called in to assist with crowd control and that all of the police involved with the man directly were SEPTA police. Stanford says he is unaware of any charges being filed against the man, and Williams indicated that she was still waiting to hear from SEPTA police whether charges have been filed.