Metro Transit responds to security concerns following Shawn Daivari incident

Daivari's Hiawatha Line smackdown isn't reflective of security problems on Metro Transit trains, a spokesman said.
Daivari's Hiawatha Line smackdown isn't reflective of security problems on Metro Transit trains, a spokesman said.

A couple weeks ago, former WWE star Shawn Daivari choked out a belligerent passenger while riding on the Hiawatha Line to the airport.

-- Shawn Daivari, former WWE star, chokes out belligerent racist on Hiawatha Line

Daivari said numerous people on the train hit the train's emergency help button when the disturbance began, but at the next stop, "nobody got on the train, so we knew there were no cops waiting to get on and help."

That characterization of the incident raised concerns about security on Hiawatha Line trains, but in an interview with City Pages, Metro Transit's PR manager, John Siqveland, gave a slightly different account of the incident and said officials handled the on-train smackdown the best they could.

Siqveland said the altercation began when a passenger boarded the southbound train with a bike at the Metrodome Station and tried to maneuver himself and his bike past the large man who ended up getting choked out by Daivari.

"An unruly passenger wouldn't let [the man with the bike] pass and was intimidating him," Siqveland said. "The situation escalated."

And it apparently escalated extremely quickly, because according to Metro Transit's account of the incident, the unruly passenger was dumped off the train by Daivari before the train left the Cedar-Riverside Station, which is the next one after the Metrodome and just two minutes away.

The train operator had been informed about the disturbance happening on the train by Metro Transit officials while it was en route to Cedar-Riverside. Before departing Cedar-Riverside, the operator could see that the unruly passenger was "removed from the train and is sitting there on the platform," Siqveland said. The operator notified police and the train continued southbound.

The unruly passenger boarded the next southbound train before police arrived, but officers were able to track him down and speak to him at the Lake Street Station. He was "uncooperative," Siqveland said. Police, unsure about what exactly happened on the train without eyewitness accounts, let him go.

"This was an incident without charges," Siqveland said, adding that details about the on-train altercation between a professional wrestler and the belligerent passenger only came to light when "the wrestler and TMZ shared the story."

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