Monday, October 19, 2009

SFist Interviews MUNI Fight Videographer

Have you seen the MUNI fight? I felt like posting it was somewhat gratuitous, considering how incredibly vile the whole fight is. (It's below if you want to see it--you can't talk about a video and not share it, you know?) The video has been the source of much controversy following its publication on SFist. The San Francisco blog interviewed Jonathan Perel, the passenger who videotaped the fisticuffs, and the Perel said he's been attacked on the bus before too. His story is less dramatic, but I thought it was harrowing nonetheless:
SF: Before we dive into the fistfight of note, you mentioned to us that you were attacked while riding the same bus route three weeks ago. What happened to you?

JP: I got on the bus around 9:45 at Stockton/Columbus and sat in one of the rear facing seats on one of the articulated buses. I did notice that the guy sitting in the seat in the isle across from me was a little sketchy looking, but I sat down, minded my own business and started checking my email. As I was wearing sunglasses that obscured my peripheral vision, I didn't see the punch coming in, and it landed squarely on my neck. Luckily, I caught the end of the punch as he punched my while sitting down across the isle from me.

There was NO warning. I jumped up stunned and yelled out "What the FUCK" several times at him. He stayed sitting and started saying something about "a genie in my phone" and that "it would bring alcohol out of my phone". I realized the guy was probably drugged or schizophrenic (or both) and decided that the best thing to do would be to talk to the bus driver.

I made my way across the bus (it was moderately full) and got to the bus driver as we got to a stop. I told her that I had just been attacked and that the guy was not "right in his head". The bus driver continued on her route. I had to repeat several times to her that I had just been attacked before she started taking me a little more seriously, and she picked up a phone of some sort and to call in "central". Apparently, nobody picked up and she kept driving past the final two stops in Chinatown, across the tunnel, past Sutter Stockton, and to my stop at Union Square. The guy got out there and walked away, west on Geary Street. I gave the bus driver the top of one of my checks (with my contact info) and walked to a block to work to lay down (I'm pretty sure I was in shock).

I just hope that a Baltimore driver would have a better response (considering how drivers take to inappropriate language, I have some confidence it would play out better than the situation above).

In regards to the infamous MUNI fight, Perel says the bus driver and another employee did nothing about the incident during his time on the bus. (He exited one stop after the video's end, which concludes at a stop itself.)

Here's the video. You can find a translation at Muni Diaries.

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