Metro investigates assault on train riders who were randomly slapped

Authorities are trying to track down the suspects in two videos showing assaults on two Metro train riders last week.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is investigating the incidents, which officials said came to light Thursday after a reporter alerted them to the Instagram posts. Metro does not know the identities of the suspects, the date and time of the assaults or which train lines were involved, spokesperson Rick Jager said.

One of the video clips showed a boy inside the train, raising his arm and striking the back of a passenger’s head. Another clip showed a similar gesture, as a boy struck a man who appeared to be resting his head against the train window. Jager said a voice can be heard in one of the videos, yelling, “Let this go viral!”

“It was almost like it was staged, and then the actual assault occurred after that,” Jager said. “It was quite troubling. We obviously want to get to the bottom of this.”

“Metro has a zero-tolerance policy for any acts of violence against customers or employees,” Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins said in a statement. “We strongly and unequivocally condemn any offenses done in the name of race, religion, sex or national origin.”

Metro said at least one of the riders attacked was Asian. Los Angeles Police Department detectives told KTLA-TV, Channel 5 that they are looking into the possibility of investigating the incidents as hate crimes.

Amid a wave of anti-Asian sentiments and actions across the country, transit workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers have experienced a rash of racist discrimination.

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