No Help for SEPTA Officer Struggling with Offender

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCPhiladelphia.com

    Would you stop to help a police officer in need?

    No one did Thursday when a SEPTA transit officer struggled -- for seven minutes -- with a drunk man.

    One person did pull out their smart phone to videotape the altercation, but no one rendered aid. Not even a call to 911.

    That really upset SEPTA police chief Thomas Nestel, who tweeted Thursday night: "Transit Officer wrestled with offender 5600 Broad Street. passing peds and motorists. No help. No calls to 911. #phillyshrug-gottastop"

    The officer wrestled the offender for seven minutes before being able to use his radio.

    It happened in the middle of rush hour in the Olney section of the city, with cars zooming by and people walking by on foot. The officer was making normal rounds alone when he came upon a drunk man. The officer proceeded to give the man a warning when the offender became combative and got into a physical altercation. The officer used pepper spray as the offender resisted arrest, according to Nestel.

    The #phillyshrug hashtag that Nestel used was coined by Helen Ubinas of the Philadelphia Daily News after coming to Philly from Hartford and concluding Philadelphians have a "whaddya-gonna-do" reaction to everything.

    Ubinas started a no #phillyshrug campaign ealier this year to help propel people such as those passersby to do something. 

    "It affects not only the officer involved, it sends a bad message to the entire force. They start to think that people don't care," said Nestel. "Calling 911 is an easy thing to do."
    Nestel went on to tweet: "@swp1895 I guess because I am an eternal optimist, I am surprised. Very disappointed that so many people would abandon my officer."

    In the past month, Nestel said there has been a flurry (at least five) assaults on officers and the officer in this incident followed procedures, which was to make an arrest and radio for backup. SEPTA recently amended its fare collection practice to help protect its operators.  
    "I don't want people to jeopardize their own safety, but help an officer or a person by calling 911 and telling the person to stop," he said.