An Iranian couple filmed a man who told them, "Donald Trump is in the house," and made threats on a New York City subway on March 25 (video below).
Mahsa Mehrdad, who was with his girlfriend, Masih Rahmati, posted a video of the incident on Facebook March 26 and described the scene:
Last night, around 11 pm, we were riding C train from Penn Station toward uptown. We were talking quietly, minding our business when this guy started cursing us. We noticed him getting on the train at 42nd St because he was looking at us hatefully and grumbling something under his breath.
When the train got less crowded at 59th St, he started cursing loudly the whole way till 125th St. I only captured the last minute but he said several times that he would kill us right then and there because we were terrorists.
We tried to stay calm and ignore him. The whole experience was sad and shocking and brought a question to my mind.
What should we do in a situation like this? Should we remain silent or should we do something? what is a proper action to shut down racist comments while not escalating the situation?
Mehrdad told the Gothamist: "At one point he looked at my girlfriend and said, 'I will kill you first.' I was very nervous that he would do something, so I was ready if he attacked for us to run away or to block him from my girlfriend."
According to Mehrdad, a third-year Ph.D student at NYU, the man got off the subway with them, but did not follow.
Mehrdad recalled that they showed the video to a cop at the subway station: "[The officer] tried to calm us down and explained to us that he can file a report but that the guy looks mentally ill and that there are a lot of them around, but we shouldn't expect the police to go after him and arrest him."
Mehrdad and Rahmati did not file the police report, but did get some advice from Facebook users who suggested contacting the police as soon as possible and not filming an incident like this because it might upset a potential attacker.
One Facebook user wrote: "I don't know the right answer here. I always just try and distance myself from the threat."
An NYPD spokesperson told the Gothamist: "All crime victims are encouraged to file a complaint report with police," but subway officials (MTA) did not comment.