EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include comment from SFMTA and San Francisco police.
Two videos posted to Twitter Thursday night show two adult men physically tackling an apparently younger man of color and throwing him off a San Francisco Muni train against his will.
Social media users who helped the video go viral pointed to racial tensions as possible motivations behind the incident, and dubbed the young man’s alleged assailants, who appear white, #MuniMatt and #MuniMark, though their identities and ethnicities are not known.
Anna Sterling, a local journalist who posted the videos, confirmed the incident occurred on the N-Judah Muni line Thursday night somewhere between 32nd and 40th Avenues. Sterling said she was not on the train herself, but the video was recorded by her friend. Sterling is a journalist with bylines at the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, VICE and NBC News, among other outlets.
In the Twitter video Sterling posted Thursday night, which had garnered more than 168,000 views as of this posting, a man can be seen tackling the young man of color as a nearby woman shouts, “Stop! He’s just a kid, leave him alone!”
The man, who tackled the younger man and can be seen holding him in an armlock on a Muni seat replied, “Tell him to stop. I’m fine stopping, I’ve got no problem.”
The woman than can be heard saying, “Over music? Leave him alone.”
They’re attempting to throw him onto the street. You can see it clearly here. He’s just a kid. This is not okay. pic.twitter.com/BGT3kado26
— Anna Sterling (@AnnaMSterling) August 31, 2018
In the Tweet describing this first video, Sterling wrote, “Whoa these two men just tried to throw this kid off the muni train because he was playing music too loudly.” She added, “He easily could’ve hit oncoming traffic. That is not okay.”
Sterling posted a second video, where the first man and another man can be seen throwing the younger man off the train.
“What the fuck? What the fuck fool?” the younger man asks as he is hurled into the closed Muni doors by the two men. The doors then open, and a struggle ensues as the two men continue to try to push him out of the Muni doors.
“Get the fuck …” the original man can be heard saying.
Sterling wrote above this second video, “they’re attempting to throw him onto the street. You can see it clearly here. He’s just a kid. This is not okay.”
Police said they received several calls about the assault and responded to the scene.
Upon arrival, they were able to speak to two of the people involved, the man seen putting the male passenger in a headlock, and the male passenger himself, who police clarified is not a juvenile.
According to police, “both subjects admitted to being involved in a mutual physical altercation, but neither party chose to press charges.”
Officers were unable to locate a man seen in the second video appearing to help push the passenger off the train, police said.
Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, told the San Francisco Examiner the agency will independently investigate the matter with the San Francisco Police Department.
“This is very disturbing video,” Rose said.
As the video garnered more views, some replying to it on Twitter said they believed race was a factor in the altercation, and made references to “Permit Patty” and “BBQ Becky,” nicknames given to a woman who recently called the police to respond to an 8-year-old girl selling water, and a woman who called the police on black people hosting a BBQ at Lake Merritt in Oakland, respectively.
“Thinking you have the right to remove somebody from public transit because they annoy you is a perfect example of white privilege in action,” wrote Twitter user @im_absurd.
Twitter user @GinaUriarte dubbed the two seemingly white men “#MuniMatt and #MuniMark,” referencing Permit Patty and BBQ Becky.
Twitter user @obviouslyblackk wrote, “They did it because he was black period.”
-Bay City News contributed to this storyTransit