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‘Don’t let her leave’: Video captures racist harassment of Asian woman by teens on the Red Line

MBTA Transit Police said several juvenile males harassed and threatened to rob passengers on a Red Line train before smashing a train window and fleeing.

Authorities are continuing to investigate after a group of teenagers allegedly smashed a window on a Red Line train, threatened to rob passengers, and taunted a woman of Asian descent — an incident captured on video.

MBTA Transit Police said the disturbance happened last Thursday around 11 p.m. near JFK/UMass Station and involved “several juvenile males” who later fled the scene. 

“A witness stated that the juvenile subjects approached the victim and began making fun of her for being Asian,” Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan told The Boston Globe. “They were taunting her based on her ethnicity. They were trying to mimic an Asian accent. … They also threatened to rob some people on the train.”


The teens also harassed a man of Asian descent who was riding in another part of the car, Sullivan told the Globe. The man continued on the train, and police did not interview him.

A video posted to the Instagram page “Asians With Attitudes” appears to show part of the teens’ confrontation with the woman. Several males can be seen in the video jeering at passengers and mockingly speaking in stereotypical accents. 

Vivian Dang, the woman who shot the video and the target of the harassment, told NBC10 Boston that the teens yelled racial slurs at her and that one of the boys turned his bicycle and pushed the wheels into her face.

“One of them screamed, ‘Don’t let her leave,’ and at that point, that’s when I felt the true shock because at that point they could follow me home,” Dang told the news outlet. “I was afraid to get off [at] my stop, personally, because I was afraid they would follow me.”

Sullivan told the Globe that an officer gave her a ride home in a cruiser. The teens got off at Andrew Station in South Boston, the newspaper reported.


Transit police said they will seek charges in connection with the incident. Sullivan told the Globe that he will consult Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden’s office to determine whether the teenagers should be prosecuted under the state’s hate crime laws.

Reached for an update Thursday afternoon, he told Boston.com the investigation is still ongoing.

The disturbance follows a handful of other incidents over the past year where Red Line passengers of Asian descent allegedly faced verbal abuse or physical assault. 

Two weeks prior, a man allegedly spit on a woman of Asian descent at the Red Line’s Broadway Station and made racially motivated comments about her ethnicity, Universal Hub reported

In February, transit police asked for the public’s help identifying two men accused of assaulting and hurling “racial epithets” at an Asian woman at the MBTA station in Davis Square.

And last November, police reported that a 64-year-old Asian woman was kidnapped outside Wollaston Station, then strangled and repeatedly sexually assaulted. A Quincy man was later arrested and charged in connection with the kidnapping and assault.


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