‘This is a very disappointing and ugly incident’: Racial epithet directed at MBTA employee, police say

The suspect was gone before transit police arrived, they said.

An MBTA employee allegedly had a racial epithet shouted at him when, out of concern for safety, he asked a passenger to step away from the yellow line on the Downtown Crossing Orange Line northbound platform Tuesday morning, according to transit police.

Around 10:20 a.m., officers were called to the area due to a T employee “being harassed by an unknown party,” transit police said. The suspect was gone by the time police arrived, but the department is continuing to investigate.

The employee, who is African American, told them a white man was “standing dangerously close to the yellow line” and that he asked the man to stand back out of concern for his safety, according to officials.

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That’s when the racist language was used, police said, and the suspect allegedly began “behaving in a disruptive and disorderly manner towards the employee.”

Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green said in a statement that his department has “zero tolerance” for this type of behavior.

“This is a very disappointing and ugly incident,” he said. “MBTA employees should be free from any form verbal assault particularly involving one’s race. I will ensure this incident is investigated and the appropriate action taken.