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Smith-9 Sts Subway Station in New York City

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In what appears to be the latest instance of violence on New York City subway trains, an undated video going viral on social media shows a brutally violent outburst from an enraged passenger against an unsuspecting one. And according to the video, it was all reportedly because of an innocent mistake.

In the minute-long clip — which was first posted to TikTok on Wednesday afternoon and carries a banner message reading, “All bud did was fall asleep on his shoulder” — a man conspicuously wearing a “no quarter” American flag T-shirt can be seen seated and angrily yelling at another passenger across from him who isn’t shown in the recording.

“I speak your [expletive] dialect, and I know who the [expletive] you are!” the man yelled while repeatedly pointing forcefully at the other passenger.

It’s unclear what exactly that meant, but the situational implication from the footage appeared to be that one passenger was defending another for apparently falling asleep on the other man’s shoulder, thus inciting his wrath.

“Go to sleep someplace…” the angry man yells as his Spanish-sprinkled speech becomes unintelligible before again peppering the man across from him with expletives to be quiet.

It was at that point that the passenger next to the man on the verge of losing all self-control motioned with his hand and shook his head to the rider across from them, almost as if to say, “thanks, but let’s not engage with this angry man.”

But doing that only further incensed the already furious passenger, who turned and screamed in Spanish in his neighbor’s face with more violent gesturing. When the person who apparently fell asleep moved his face closer to the seething passenger’s face and pointed at him, he was swiftly met with brutal violence in the form of repeated elbows to the head. That prompted the other previously unseen passenger to lunge at the violent passenger and begin fighting him in apparent defense of the victim as bedlam broke out in the subway car, prompting other passengers to quickly scatter away.

Watch the video below.

The video is graphic in nature and should only be viewed with discretion.

After the video began gaining traction on social media, the TikTok account from which the footage was first posted deleted the original post. But other accounts had already reposted the footage as it was being widely shared via other TikTok accounts and social media platforms like Reddit, Instagram and X, the app formerly known as Twitter. Each subsequent reposting of the video seemingly attributed the violence to the passenger accidentally falling asleep on the angry man’s shoulder.

What a “no quarter” flag means

The man behind the violent outburst appeared to be wearing a T-shirt bearing the “no quarter” version of the American flag, which is emblazoned with black stripes and stars over a gray background. While slightly resembling the pro-police “thin blue line” flag in looks and meaning, the “no quarter” flag takes on a more racially nuanced significance.

“It means people will be killed instead of taken prisoner in the ‘second civil war/race war,'” criminal defense and civil rights attorney Melba Pearson wrote in the Miami Times in 2021, months after Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio reportedly uttered the same two-word phrase ahead of the fateful 2020 election.

While it’s unclear if race was a motivating factor in the subway violence, that T-shirt certainly doesn’t help matters.

Daniel Penny and Jordan Neely

The video footage also showed just how quickly a confrontation on the subway can devolve into violence, even if people step in to help the person or persons being attacked.

In Jordan Neely’s case, according to eyewitness reports, the 30-year-old homeless Black man was choked to death by Daniel Penny, a white former Marine who maintains he was defending himself. Only, unlike in the new violent video footage from the subway, passengers came to the aid of Penny, who came up from behind and placed Neely in the deadly restraint for more than five minutes. Penny was ultimately charged with second-degree manslaughter and is currently awaiting trial.


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