Man who discarded chocolate milk bottle, triggering bomb investigation on MBTA bus, pleads not guilty
A man who disposed of a bottle of chocolate milk under an MBTA bus in Brigham Circle on Thursday, triggering a bomb squad investigation, pleaded not guilty to charges in West Roxbury Municipal Court today.
Amar Ibrahim, 27, was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to interfering with public transportation, disorderly conduct, and littering, officials said.
His attorney, Charles Pappas, said authorities, the bus driver, and passengers overreacted to Ibrahim, who wasn’t on board the Route 66 bus, but was wearing a thobe, common garb for men in the Middle East, and a head covering.
Pappas said Ibrahim’s appearance, coupled with a more cautious city in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, could have made people “jump to the conclusion that this could be a terrorist.”
Pappas said Ibrahim is a Boston taxi driver who has lived in the city for more than a decade and noted that when his actions caused alarm, Ibrahim stayed put and cooperated with investigators.
“Ibrahim never communicated with the operator or passengers on the bus,” Pappas said in a telephone interview. “He didn’t run, and he cooperated with police.”
Pappas added, “I think that the facts of the case do not fit the charges against him, other than maybe littering.”
But according to an MBTA Transit Police report, Ibrahim was seen by the passengers and driver on the Route 66 bus placing the bottle on the right rear wheel of the vehicle. Passengers yelled at the driver not to move the bus and to call police for help.
The driver, a woman, subsequently parked the bus on Tremont Street. The driver and passengers evacuated the bus, police said.
The “passengers then ran off the bus in fear for their lives,’’ police wrote.
Police were summoned to the scene and closed down several streets in the Brigham Circle area while the Boston police bomb squad searched for evidence of an explosive device. None was found, police said.
In the police report, Ibrahim was described as “a Middle Eastern male dressed in a Thobe [sic] with head scarf.”Jasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Jasper_Craven