Every Judgmental Facebook Commenter Owes the SEPTA Kids Mom an Apology
Since early this week, the city has been reeling over that viral video that shows a group of out-of-control young children on the Market-Frankford El. Commenters have been brutal toward both the kids and their mother. The children’s behavior was appalling, and many feel that the mother didn’t do anything to intervene. But new video has emerged that sheds more light on the incident.
This new video was shot by Dwayne Ross, a 45-year-old South Jersey man who works at a bank on Market Street. Ross was on the same train car as the kids, the mom and Patrick Coyle, the man who shot the controversial viral video and posted it to his Facebook page.
“The guy who was videotaping, he was definitely antagonizing those kids,” recalls Ross. “I noticed the kids running back and forth down the aisle, and then I see this guy videotaping them. The mom was trying to corral the kids, but he kept instigating them.”
As for the criticism of the mother, Ross says she’s getting a bum rap.
“The kids were out of control, yes, but I don’t think that the full story is being told by saying that the mother wasn’t doing anything,” insists Ross. “She was trying, without being violent or crossing a line, and she did a phenomenal job by not acknowledging this person who was antagonizing her kids.”
Ross sent us three videos, which we combined into one video, placing the clips in chronological order. We also blurred the faces of the children.
In the first clip, the kids seem calm enough, walking down the aisle toward Jessica Carreras, mother of the Latino children and aunt to the African-American kids. She is clearly gathering them toward her. Coyle is seen in that clip with his phone pointed at the children, and he’s even using the bright light on his phone. It appears that one of the kids makes a remark about Coyle filming them — the best we can make out is that the kid asks, “Is that dude taking videos?” — and then a child can be heard saying what sounds like, “Stop following us.” At the end of the clip, Carreras tells one or more of the children, “Watch your mouth.”
The second clip is shorter. In that clip, Carreras appears to have the children all together in the doorway of the train car, and she is standing between them and Coyle, with her back to him. Coyle continues to hold up his phone in their direction.
The third clip is the most telling. As Coyle continues to take video of the children — and keep in mind that these kids are all 11 and under — some of the children can be heard cursing at him. “Get over here,” Carreras demands to one of the kids. “Watch your mouth,” she says again, then, “Watch your language.” As Carreras tries to calm the situation down, Ross zooms in.
Coyle lowers his phone away from his head and leans in toward the mom and children, quietly saying something that we can’t make out. We’ve isolated that portion of the video here:
Immediately after that, all hell breaks lose, and Coyle, the dutiful cameraman, keeps on taping the kids.
“To be honest with you, he seemed like — pardon my French — a dick,” observes Ross. “I don’t think anything would have happened if this guy hadn’t been there. They were provoked. He was obviously agitating the children.”
Coyle has not granted our requests for an interview.
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