PORTLAND Days after video surfaced of a 14-year-old Portland girl getting attacked on a MAX train, many are asking why no one stepped in to help her.

The video, originally posted on YouTube, shows three unidentified girls beating up a fourth girl and also spitting on her. The MAX train appears to be packed and people are watching as the girl gets hit with several punches. But not one single person tries to stop the attack or help the victim.

More: Portland girl attacked on MAX train

YouTube eventually removed the video stating that it violated the Web site s policy on hate speech. However, the debate over the video continued to rage on online, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

It may have been a dangerous thing to do. But if more would step up and help others, quantity in numbers I say, commented Mary McCord on KGW s Facebook page.

Other commenters said they would have at least called 9-1-1 or pushed the emergency button inside the train.

PSU sociologist Randy Blazak said situations like this have been well-documented and it s actually common for people just to stand back and watch. He said this is because of something called the bystander effect which occurs when people freeze in fear during a traumatic situation and wait for others to take action.

You know, know sitting back, we think, oh, I would have done this. I've watched that video several times and I imagine myself bounding in there stopping the assault and giving everybody a lecture, including all the bystanders. But in that situation, I might have done the exact same thing, Blazak said.

Another question raised Wednesday was whether this MAX attack may have been a hate crime. The victim told KGW her attackers made comments about the fact that she was a white girl.

Police said, if race was a motivating factor, this case could be considered a hate crime. But so far, no arrests have been made and they continue to try and identify the attackers.

Video:Girl attacked on MAXtrain

(KGW reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.)


Soon after the video was released, four suspects were arrested. On the night of that arrest, two more women were arrested for attacking several people on a TriMet bus.

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