Bus video changes Seattle image from potheads to Bravehearts


Finally, a widely covered story about Seattle that doesn’t mention legalized recreational pot.

I’m referring to media attention of the King County Metro Transit surveillance clip, which you can view above courtesy of YouTube, showing passenger Casey Borgen on a West Seattle bus facing a gun-brandishing hoodlum robbing patrons of money and cellphones. Borgen grabbed the weapon pointed right in his face, then attacked the attacker, leading a counter-charge that resulted in what looked like half the passengers sitting on the assailant until the authorities arrived. I’d say the gunman, later identified as Trevonnte Brown, 19, is pretty lucky he wasn’t crushed to death right there.

There’s nothing like flashy caught-in-the-act video to draw attention. This thwarted bus heist has been seen thousands of times around the world on YouTube, where the clip has been posted by multiple sources. (Indeed, the tape I linked to is from CCTV, which isĀ the biggest TV network in China and whose main news show is said to get 500 million viewers a night.) Meanwhile, the world media have shifted, at least temporarily, from the narrative of Seattle the land of nerdy potheads to Seattle the land of Bravehearts. West Seattle leads the city in letter-carriers bitten by dogs, so it might figure that their human owners aren’t to be messed with, either.

“Seattle Metro bus riders overtake man robbing a passenger at gunpoint,” gushed a headline on the website of the London Guardian over a story that, like I did, linked to the video. “Heroic act,” proclaimed a headline in the New York Daily News. “Fearless Seattle bus passengers,” bleated the website of the New York-based International Business Times. “Bus passengers don’t wait for the cops,” admired the website The Blaze.

There’s been extensive coverage on national cable networks like CNN, which has been playing up Seattle marijuana for months. Other headlines I’ve seen at the New To Seattle world headquarters: “Everyday Heroes!” (Daily Grind). “Passengers subdue gun-wielding thief in Seattle” (WDAF, Kansas City). “Armed robber no match for smartphone-holding, earbud-wearing Seattle bus passenger.” (The Province, Vancouver, B.C.). “One for the good guys” (Vancouver Sun).

Interviewed this morning on NBC’s “Today” show–another indication of the story’s far-flung appeal–Borgen said he was acting on “pure instinct” but that grabbing at a gun in his face was a “bad idea.”

As you might imagine, Brown has been in jail since the November 25 incident. The video became public a few days ago when he pleaded not guilty at a court hearing to charges of first-degree robbery and attempted robbery.

No word on whether anyone involved in this caper had been smoking anything. Just sayin’.

To see reader comments, click on the headline at the top of this post, then scroll to the bottom.

Follow William P. Barrett’s work on Twitter by clicking here.

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2 Responses to Bus video changes Seattle image from potheads to Bravehearts

  1. Even in liberal Seattle, your scenario strikes me as unlikely.

  2. I wonder how long it will take before this poor young man sue sues the bus authority for injuries suffered during this brutal display of unsupervised vigilante justice. Given the presence of cameras, it is obvious the city should have anticipated this sort of violence and posted trained officers in each bus to intervene before things got out of hand. I smell a $1 million settlement.

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