An incident involving a black teen and a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Police Officer has reignited frustrations between police and the public.
The alleged racially motivated incident happened on a red line train last week. A witness said a teen was kicked off a train because as she put it, he was black.
On Monday, those who oversee the transit system said it was a reminder that Boston isn’t immune to these types of issues.
The MBTA says they have met with everyone involved and this has been resolved but some say it highlights a broader issue.
“It seems really unfair,” said commuter Leslie Arnott. “I think you are being targeted if you look a certain way.”
The incident allegedly started with a call to MBTA police about a group of rowdy kids on the train who were all black, who were in turn asked to leave. When police came back and ordered another black teen to also get off the train, incorrectly assuming he was part of the group, a witness intervened on his behalf and then took to Facebook to write about it in a post that’s since gone viral.
“It’s not an indictment of the MBTA,” said Paul Regan, Executive Director of the MBTA advisory Board. “It’s an indictment of all of us.”
Regan heads up the board that helps oversee the MBTA. He said the interaction proves that even Boston isn’t immune to the conflicts between police and the public taking place around the country.
“Just being kids on the train — that’s all that happened,” Regan said. “They were being kids on the train. And they faced an action that perhaps a group of young white men probably wouldn’t have faced.”
MBTA police declined an interview to necn but during a meeting with Regan’s board on Monday afternoon they touched on their ongoing efforts to improve their relationship with minority members of the community.
“Day in and day out we do a very challenging job in a tough environment,” said MBTA Superintendent Richard Sullivan.
Figuring out how to improve that environment for everyone is a question that many still feel need to be answered.
“If everybody gets together, it will change things but everybody does not come together all the time,” said commuter Carol Loney. “So, it may not change.”
The witness who posted about this exchange is white and said she hopes it will start a dialogue about racism in our country.