UPDATED at 5:50pm, March 7, 2013: I just received this statement from the Office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez:
(MIAMI, March 7, 2013) – "We are sorry that this incident occurred and apologize to Mrs. Anderson. The situation should have been handled with more care and common sense. We have made it clear to all County employees and contractors that our patrons must be treated with dignity and respect. We are in the process of reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure special consideration is taken when dealing with the elderly and people with special needs."
There's been another incident involving a Metrorail security guard and a passenger that has me wondering, once again, who in the hell is in charge at Miami-Dade Transit?
Last January, Miami blogger and First Amendment activist Carlos Miller was accosted, handcuffed and dragged down an escalator by 50 State security guards at the Government Center Metrorail station.
Shortly after the incident, I wrote a post asking, "Who's in charge at Miami-Dade Transit?"
The latest incident involving a 50 States security guard and a passenger bears a few similarities to Miller's experience, but with one glaring difference.
Miller is a burly man is his 40s who gives as good as he gets.
But, in a confrontation last February, a frail, 82-year-old woman named Emma Anderson was dragged off the train by a security guard for singing Gospel hymns.
Another passenger captured the incident with his cell phone camera. In the video, Thompson can be seen falling down on the train platform after being dragged off the train by the security guard.
But what's almost as shocking as the incident itself, is a statement on the incident from Miami-Dade Transit spokesperson Karla Damian. In it, Damian tacitly condones the guard's thug-like behavior:
Miami-Dade Transit has a responsibility to all its passengers to provide a safe and comfortable travel experience. The elderly passenger, Ms. Anderson, who was escorted from a Metrorail train, was initially asked by a security guard to refrain from singing loudly and playing an instrument while on the train.
She refused to comply. County rules associated with transit use prohibit anyone from singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument unless a commercial permit is issued by MDT. Further, Ms. Anderson’s singing was causing a disturbance to other passengers and impeding important train announcements from being heard.
We regret that Ms. Anderson had to eventually be escorted out, but regardless of age, all passengers need to abide by the rules associated with using transit.
But thankfully, not all county employees are as clueless or insensitive as Karla Damian.
In an email sent this morning, Suzy Trutie, Assistant Director of Communications for Miami-Dade County, tells me, "This morning, Transit staff is meeting with the security company to discuss the incident, the guard’s actions and all policies. We expect all of our employees and vendors to treat all customers with dignity and respect."
Hopefully, the continued unprofessional behavior by Miami-Dade Transit's security "vendor" will be addressed in the strongest possible terms with 50 States executives.
But, until that happens, I've taken the liberty of revamping the Miami-Dade Transit homepage with a design that more closely reflects the agency's image. You're welcome!
|Click here to enlarge.|