SEPTA police are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of four suspects wanted in an attack on a SEPTA employee last week.
– An attack against a SEPTA employee in Center City, Philadelphia has sparked outrage on the part of the Transport Workers Union and calls for the chief of SEPTA police to resign. I have been sent to headquarters as action news reporter George Solis tonight. George, statistics seem to show that working for SEPTA has become more dangerous in 2021.
GEORGE SOLIS: That’s right, Jim, and the chief even acknowledged that so far this year things have not gotten off to a great start. That said, he defended his administration and says he has no plans to step down. We do want to warn viewers at home some of the video you’re about to see may be graphic.
Footage released Thursday by the Transport Workers Union, which represents SEPTA transit employees, captured the harrowing moments as one of their own is swarmed by teenagers in an unprovoked assault at 15 Street Station in Center City. SEPTA officials said the brazen attack took place around 11:30 PM on March 15. The unnamed employee is said to be recovering at home with numerous injuries.
WILLIE BROWN: Almost he lost consciousness and is bruised up pretty bad, but he’s come along.
CHIEF THOMAS NESTEL: This behavior is completely unacceptable, we don’t want our employees or any– any of our riders to suffer from that kind of behavior.
GEORGE SOLIS: SEPTA transit police chief Thomas Nestel held a press conference following the release of the video and calls from the union to resign amid allegations police are not doing enough from policy to transparency to protect employees and riders.
WILLIE BROWN: SEPTA does not want to report this because it gives them a black eye. I think they are trying to keep it hush hush.
GEORGE SOLIS: While SEPTA data given to Action News shows a general decrease in reported incidents against employees and things like harassment and physical assault between 2019 to 2020, Chief Nestel noted things so far in 2021 are less stable. The pandemic is posting several problems, especially in the realm of mental health. He said another challenge, making cases against offenders.
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CHIEF THOMAS NESTEL: We need help from the mental health system. We need help from the justice system.
GEORGE SOLIS: The Workers Union is not the only group that’s now called for a change in leadership.
TROY PARHAM: Been around 22 years and this is the lowest I’ve ever seen it.
GEORGE SOLIS: The Fraternal Order of transit police have also called for the chief to step down.
TROY PARHAM: It’s now coming to a head and I think that it’s just– it’s time.
GEORGE SOLIS: And again, the chief says he has no plans to step down. He also defended the number of officers he currently has, which is also called into question by the union. He did say he plans on adding security officers– about 60 of them– at some of SEPTA’s most heavily traveled terminals. Your life in Center City tonight, George Solis, channel six Action News. Jim.
– Thank you George.
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