Mayor apologizes to elderly woman who got kicked off Metrorail
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued an apology on Thursday to 82-year-old Emma Anderson, the woman who was kicked off a Metrorail train Feb. 20 for singing too loudly.
Anderson said she was singing religious hymns while tapping her thigh with a rolled-up piece of paper when she was approached by a security guard and asked to leave.
The entire exchange, which concludes with the guard forcefully dragging the senior citizen off the train by her bag's handle until she falls down on the Brickell station platform, was captured on another passenger's cell phone video. Anderson bruised her shoulder when she fell to the ground.
In a written statement, Gimenez expressed his regret about how the senior citizen's forced exit was handled. The mayor wrote: "We are sorry that this incident occurred and apologize to Mrs. Anderson. The situation should have been handled with more care and common sense We have made it clear to all county employees and contractors that our patrons must be treated with dignity and respect."
Gimenez's apology comes one day after Miami-Dade Transit Authority released a statement defending their noise policy, which prohibits riders from singing loudly, playing musical instruments, or making any loud noise on board the trains.
A Metrorail rider said he feels ambivalent about the situation. "I have mixed emotions about it. First and foremost, those guards in the trains have a job to do, but at the same time there's a sense of discretion that should be used," Alvin Romer said.
Anderson said her fall might have bruised her shoulder, but it did not dim her faith. ""Well, y'all may call it 'noise,' but wait till Jesus comes. It's going to be more noise in there," she told 7News on Wednesday.
Donal Anderson, the rider's son, said he appreciated Gimenez's apology, and hopes her ordeal serves as an opportunity for the county to consider training security guards on how to treat elderly passengers. "What I hope to come out of it is that they train security [personnel] as to how to deal with other folks, with anybody that's on the Metrorail system," he said.
The Andersons have hired an attorney to explore their legal options. That lawyer is expected to hold a news conference Friday morning.
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