Police say no one involved reported brutal SEPTA platform attack on teens, caught on video
SEPTA police are investigating a vicious attack of two Benjamin Franklin High School students caught on video yesterday on a train platform inside the Spring Garden Station.
This post has been updated.
SEPTA police are investigating a vicious attack on two Benjamin Franklin High School students caught on video Tuesday on a subway platform in the Spring Garden Station, officials said Wednesday.
Nobody involved in the beating — including the victims — reported the brutal crime to SEPTA police, Philadelphia police or school district officials, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said.
In the video, time-stamped just after 3:15 p.m., about a dozen teens — all believed to be students, according to officials — appear to be participating in the attack or egging it on. At one point, one of the assailants, wearing a light gray sweatshirt with the hood covering his head, fell onto the tracks. He quickly pulled himself back onto the platform and joined the fray once again. A girl is seen trying to videotape the pummeling of a male victim, and one assailant also stomped on the victim's head.
The attack lasted a minute and five seconds, SEPTA officials said.
"It's an outrageous event. This is so dangerous, it's not even funny," Nestel told reporters at a news conference. "We have operating trains down there. There are passengers waiting for the train...It's horrendous."
School District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the students involved may face suspension, expulsion or alternative school as discipline.
"What we have seen is a brutal violent attack that could that could have ended with a loss of life," Gallard said.
SEPTA detectives have had preliminary discussions two boys who were victims in the attack, Nestel said. They expected to meet with each student again, this time with a parent present, he added.
SEPTA police officers were at the station at the time of the fight, Nestel said. They responded and are seen in the video rushing to the platform just seconds after the brawl ended and the students were gone. The teens, including the victims, fled onto a train that arrived shortly before the cops.
Initial reports say that the fight may have started because of a female student, he said, but the girl's involvement was unclear yesterday. The victims were followed down to the platform from the street, "and somone signals who they are," according to a preliminary investigation, he added.
The school district is working to help identify the perpetrators, along with SEPTA.
"We've identified some potential aggressors. There is a criminal investigation with the school district. The message that we're trying to get out is if you act up on SEPTA, we're going to have a picture of your face and we're sharing it with the School District," Nestel said. "Between the two of us, we're going to address it so that no one gets hurt."
As a result of the attack, SEPTA has stationed more police officers at the Spring Garden station. They are also adding more officers to nine other stations identified as "hot spots" due to high student usage, Nestel said. The others are: 15th Street, Olney Transportation Center, Frankford Transportation Center, City Hall, Girard (Broad Street Line), Erie, Berks, Allegheny and 8th Street.