MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – An elderly woman was forcefully taken off of a Metrorail train by a security guard for singing a spiritual hymn.
The guard was working as an employee of the transit system, which claims he was simply enforcing county rules that require a permit for such activities, WPLG-TV reports.
The incident began when Emma Anderson, 82, sang a spiritual hymn while riding the train.
“I was beating my little beads with the bottle and I was singing a song, and he came up to me and said, ‘Ma’am, you’re making too much noise,’” Anderson was quoted as saying.
In a video obtained by the station that was taken by another passenger, the guard is seen grabbing Anderson’s bag. While clinging to it, she was pulled from her seat.
“He said, ‘You gotta get off this train,’” Anderson recalled to WPLG.
The disagreement escalated until Anderson was knocked backwards onto the ground by the guard’s force.
A spokesperson for Miami-Dade Transit said in a statement that Anderson was not following Metrorail train policies, and that the guard was within his rights to remove her from the train.
“County rules associated with transit use prohibit anyone from singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument unless a commercial permit is issued by MDT,” spokesperson Karla Damian said. “Further, Ms. Anderson’s singing was causing a disturbance to other passengers and impeding important train announcements from being heard.”
Damian added in the statement obtained by WPLG: “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.”
Anderson’s family is reportedly taking legal action in regards to the force used by the security guard to resolve the matter, having filed a police report and hired an attorney since the incident occurred.
Her loved ones also fear that she sustained hip and shoulder fractures from her fall.
“When I look at them snatching my 82-year-old mother up off that Metrorail, it’s disgusting to me”, the woman’s son, Donald Anderson, told the station. “They should’ve had another way of removing her out instead of dragging her off.”