SEPTA investigating anti-Asian hate crime in Tioga
The incident occurred on the Broad Street line at Erie station and involved a number of high schoolers.
SEPTA said its transit police department is investigating an assault that occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 17 involving high school students on the Broad Street Line. A video was recorded and posted on social media.
The video shows a group of teenage Black girls yelling at a fellow teenage girl who appears to be of Asian descent and then physically assaulting her around 3:30 p.m. near the Erie Station in the Tioga section of the city.
One of the female students is seen throwing a punch, while the group of victims sit and try to shield themselves. One of the suspects gets into the face of another female student who is standing.
More obscenities are shouted and then the incident turns more violent. The female student who is standing gets hit in the face multiple times. Then her head is slammed against the side of the train and she is taken to the floor where she is punched and stomped on repeatedly.
One of the suspects is seen taking off one of her shoes and hitting the victim over and over.
“This was a violent and disturbing incident. Fortunately, no serious injuries have been reported,” SEPTA said in a statement Wednesday night.
SEPTA said its Transit Police are working closely with Philadelphia Police, School Administration officials, School District Police, and the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission on the investigation, and has made progress in identifying the students involved.
Councilmember David Oh retweeted the video and then commented: “Disgraceful. I scheduled a public hearing on the failure to provide public safety on SEPTA vehicles, platforms and stations. Additionally, the Philadelphia Schools must deploy its safety officers (formerly School Police) to ensure the safety of all students.”
Disgraceful. I scheduled a public hearing on the failure to provide public safety on @SEPTA vehicles, platforms and stations. Additionally, the @PHLschools must deploy its safety officers (formerly School Police) to ensure the safety of all students.
— David Oh (@DavidOhPhilly) November 18, 2021
According to a screenshot Facebook conversation obtained by Jackfroot News, a person named Timura Warren, who was on the train at the time of the event, said that the assailants were “after Asian students.”
Other Facebook users commented that this group is allegedly known for targeting Asian students on the streets, at subway stations, or on the cars.
There was a false rumor that one of the Asian students said a racial slur against Black people, but this has yet to be proven.
“Those girls got in my car talking about what’s wrong with Chinese people. Then they got in the next car, went through the doors, and next thing, all we could see was that girl on the ground. They knew exactly what they were doing,” Warren wrote.
A Central High School student named Teagan, posted a thread about the incident on Twitter, with screenshots of Instagram stories from the victim’s brother, David.
“False information is being shared and I do want everyone to know that my sister did not say any racial slur. Tina has non-severe injuries, but is okay and taking time for herself. I appreciate everyone’s concern, but my sister needs time,” David wrote, adding that he would like people to stop posting the video.
Teagan echoed David’s statement about this being an unwarranted attack.
This is a hate crime. These students did not deserve to be beaten on public transit. They just wanted to go home. Out of respect for the victims I will not be reposting the video like some sources have (2/ pic.twitter.com/my75gnkBSD
— Teagan | please read recent thread. (@orchissystem07) November 18, 2021
“There are false claims from the attackers saying that the Asian students provoked them, I can assure you that this is not the case. When the victims believe it is time to make a statement, I will repost that here,” they wrote.
Teagan also noted that this isn’t the first anti-Asian hate crime that has occurred on SEPTA involving students from his school.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact SEPTA police at (215) 580-8111 or Philadelphia police at 215-686-TIPS.