MONTREAL – Police are investigating a métro “drinking marathon” that involved a gang of young people urinating, vomiting, drinking, vandalizing, exposing themselves, throwing beer cans and walking on métro tracks early this month.
Photos of the antics went viral after being posted on the Mook Life website Monday. The headline: “Montreal Metro Drinking Marathon – The Orange Line Derby.”
The event took place over several hours on March 9, with the 20 or so participants — mostly men — getting off at every station to carouse on the platform.
How did the disturbing incidents go on for so long — they covered 18 stations, from Côte Vertu to Berri-UQàM — without Société de transport de Montréal security or the police ever intervening?
“It’s not easy to spot” youths who will act this way, said the STM spokeswoman, Isabelle Tremblay.
“We transport 900,000 people daily and there are often groups of young people who may or may not have been drinking and who laugh loudly, but it’s not written on their foreheads that they’ll do what this group did.”
She called the acts “irresponsible, illegal and extremely dangerous.” Those who walked on tracks risked electrocution.
Tremblay could not say how the activities continued for so long without STM employees or police stopping the hooligans. “This is among the elements that will be looked at as part of the investigation,” Tremblay said. She said the STM will turn over surveillance video to police.
Montreal police Inspector Philippe Pichet said investigators are going through 911 logs to see whether any calls were made about the incidents, and the STM is checking whether any members of the public alerted the transit agency.
“It’s important that people notify us when they see this type of behaviour,” he said. “If people don’t, we can’t be there unless our patrollers happen upon it by chance. We don’t have patrollers in every métro station.”
From the photos, there were many infractions of municipal bylaws and STM rules, Pichet said. That includes the alcohol consumption, public urination and jumping on tracks.
Some participants also appear to have committed criminal acts — indecency, by exposing themselves, and mischief, by drawing graffiti, he said. He said they could also have been charged with mischief if subway service had been affected but it appears the métro was never interrupted.
At the moment, police are not seeking help in identifying the culprits, but anyone with information can contact Info-Crime, anonymously, at 514-393-1133, Pichet said.
Mook Life is a Montreal website that bills itself as the “voice of the streets and the heart of the youth, where ignorance and acting on impulse are not character defaults but celebrated skills.”
The site removed the Orange Line Derby photos on Wednesday but they can still be found online. The faces of some participants were blurred out in the photos but many of those who took part are easily identifiable.
Under the “rules” of the derby, participants had to drink one beer per station, with “pit stops every six stations to buy more beers.”
Participants are seen drinking and smoking on métro cars and platforms; vomiting in métro cars and on platforms and outside stations; urinating on station benches, tracks and walls; sitting on platform edges; and drawing graffiti outside stations.
One person threw a beer can onto subway tracks. Another walked on tracks. In one photo, two men are at the entrance of a métro tunnel. Several men pulled down their pants, in at least one case flashing a passenger.
At one point, a man holding a can of beer is seen standing on top of a ticket booth at Lucien L’Allier station. Inside the booth, an STM employee is on the telephone.
As the photos spread across the Internet, Montreal transit users reacted with disgust. On some websites, the names and Facebook pages of some alleged vandals were posted.
Some of those shown in the Mook Life photos have active online presences.
Some transit users, like Howard Zinman, contacted the STM to alert them to the event on Wednesday. Zinman was told STM security cameras captured the incidents.
“It’s appalling — they were doing this over the span of three or four hours,” Zinman said. “If your cameras captured everything, how come no one stopped it? How can the STM say that they are actually policing the métro?”
The photos of the drinking binge “just prove what everybody knows,” Zinman said. “The métro is just an unpoliced place; it’s dirty and employees are indifferent.”
Tremblay, of the STM, defended the agency, saying such incidents are rare and she had never heard of anything similar to the March 9 events happening before.
On the front page of the Mook-Life site, a disclaimer was posted Wednesday:
“Mook-Life is in no way responsible and/or affiliated with any of the activities and individuals depicted on this site. This site is for entertainment purposes only.
“The owners of this site do not condone vandalism of public/private/city property nor do they participate in any illegal activities such as but not limited to graffiti.”
© 2013 Post Media