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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Calls to 911.

I had to call 911 earlier tonight. I was sitting at my desk, writing an earlier post, when I heard yelling. “RELAX! RELAX! RELAX! RELAX! RELAX!” In between shouts of RELAX! I heard a smaller, muffled yell. I know a lot of the drunks and crazies in my neighborhood and thought it was C. He is a yeller, but will respond if you say his name. I figured I’d go yell at him.

I go onto my balcony and see two men wrestling on the CTA platform. That is how close to the train I live, I could see and hear two men fighting from my balcony. I ran through my apartment, tripped and fell over Spidey, and grabbed my phone. I dialled 911 and learned that my phone makes an alert noise when you call 911. I guess to make sure you know you are calling.

The operator came on and it was the first time I’ve had such a hard time spitting out what needed to be said. “Brown Line, Damen Stop. Fight. Brown Line, Damen. Two men are fighting. Oh My god, he’s gonna get thrown on the tracks. I can see it from my balcony. Outbound brown line, Damen.”

I stood there and watched. “RELAX! RELAX! RELAX! RELAX! RELAX!” continued. It was puncuated by yells of “I can’t breathe!” “I can’t see!” “get your hands off me motherfucker” “Call the police.” I stood on my deck in silence. I sure as hell wasn’t going to let them know I’d already called. Then they lurched and almost went down the stairs. They briefly seperated and almost flew onto the tracks and the deadly third rail.

Then the RELAX guy overtook the victim. A train pulled up, the doors opened, I prepared to see them race onto the train. Instead the conductor walked down the platform to the last car where the men where and took over for teh RELAX guy. What I then heard was the RELAX guy accusing the “victim” of tagging the station. (All this over graffitti?)

Then the “victim” started yelling at the “niggers.” The security gaurd from downstairs came up and just looked him up and down. She and her coworkers are all black and he was certainly not going to get any extra help if he kept yelling “Nigger.” Then the commuters started giving up on their train leaving the station and would slowly leave the train.

The “victim” kept yelling about the pain, to call the police. I stayed and watched and wondered, “WHERE THE HELL ARE THE FUCKING POLICE?!?!”

Finally, I gave up watching and went to the el station. I arrived the same time the police did. In reality, this might have been two minutes later, but it felt like twenty. It was bizarre. I was not called back for a statement. Who knows. I can’t believe a guy would be fought like that over tagging. I don’t know how I feel about it. I stood there and was afraid I was going to see someone be murdered in front of me. I stood there thinking, “I’ll be a good witness and remember every detail.”

Was it brutality? Was it crying for attention to be able to later accuse the staff of brutality? I don’t know and I can’t think of a way to know the answer. I’ll just wait until I hear another cry for help and I’ll dial 911 again.

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