The J train during happier times. (Photo: Everett Bogue/ New York magazine)

The J train during happier times. (Photo: Everett Bogue/ New York magazine)

Thousands of people riding the J train at rush hour this morning experienced a total and complete shitstorm after an off-duty police officer allegedly assaulted a conductor while the train was pulling out of Essex Street station. According to the MTA, the conductor pulled the emergency break and brought the train to a standstill, all but one of the cars were stuck outside the station at 9:15 am– prime getting-to-work time for many riders. The J line ceased service for a full hour, leaving platforms packed with unhappy commuters.

According to a statement B+B received from the NYPD, the off-duty cop reacted after being hit with a door as the conductor tried to exit her cab. “A dispute between the two ensued and the off-duty officer pushed the conductor,” the police said. “The conductor after falling to the ground suffered a minor injury to her arm and was removed to an area hospital for evaluation, the off-duty officer was taken into custody and charges are pending.”

Police told the New York Post that the 33-year-old cop, Tremel Davis, was leaning against the door when it opened, causing him to stumble.

Videos on social media show a chaotic scene inside the cars, as passengers were seemingly the last to know what was going on. In this video shared on Twitter, it appears that people on the platform, rather than MTA employees, are the ones filling everyone in.

In a statement, the MTA pointed the finger at the NYPD, claiming that police asked that no one leave the train until the suspect was under arrest: “The Train Operator was aware of the incident, made announcements and walked through the entire train within 6 minutes of the initial incident, informing customers as he walked through the cars.”

To add to the confusion, a police scanner service reported that passengers were disembarking another stalled train on the Williamsburg Bridge, and walking the tracks. However, the MTA hasn’t been able to confirm that this actually happened. “We have no substantiated reports that customers on the incident train or trains on the bridge entered tracks,” the transportation agency said.

Social media users seem to confirm the detail about being stuck on the bridge.

And a few would-be MTA passengers claimed to have actually walked the bridge because the J train was down, which maybe could have caused the report about passengers exiting trains and walking. 

Here’s what more riders and the MTA had to say on Twitter shortly after the incident…

Ah yes, the old “mechanical problems.” See above.


There were massive delays extending across the J line.

The whole fire thing was just a rumor, but the stampede was too real. 

If the MTA made you two hours late for work after you had to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, don’t forget to NOT get fired.

Both legislators and the MTA take assaults on train conductors and other MTA employees very seriously. In 2012, Governor Cuomo launched the Transit Watch program to help beef up protections by offering a $2,000 reward for information regarding assaults on transit workers and enacting a penalty of up to seven years in prison for those found guilty.