2006_09_53rdsub.gifThe first sentence of this amNew York story by Chuck Bennett says it all:

Only in New York could an aspiring mortician be a star witness against an accomplished Cuban-born klezmer player accused of a beating up a hapless subway conductor for refusing to kick a belligerent homeless man off the train.

Well, maybe not all - it also involves the homeless man harassing another passenger AND the klezmer player pulling the emergency brake - but let's face it, how often do you get to know that your fellow straphanger is a "mortuary science student"? Last year, Roberto Juan Rodriguez tried to ask conductor Charles Johnson to remove the homeless man from the Queens-bound E train, but Johnson said that only the police could handle the matter. And then Rodriguez and Johnson got into a fight after Rodriguez pulled the emergency brake. Well, conductors really don't like it when the emergency brake is pulled, we guess.

Rodriguez was arrested and charged with assault, and the case is being heard in court this week. Johnson says he was punched, kicked and put in a headlock, and Rodriguez may be testifying for himself. Oh, and the "eyewitness and mortuary science student Lonnell Harrington" said the homeless guy left during scuffle. Naturally!