2 Accused of Racially Charged Attack on MBTA Employee

MBTA Police have arrested two people accused of using ethnic slurs while brutally attacking an MBTA employee over the weekend

A homeless couple brutally attacked an MTBA inspector and hurled racial slurs at him as he tried to close down Boston's Downtown Crossing station early Sunday morning, police say.

Robert Snyder and Shayla Witts were arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court on charges including aggravated assault and battery on a public employee and civil rights violations.

The MBTA inspector said he was escorting the pair, who he said were intoxicated, out of the station when Snyder sucker punched him and put him in a bear hug. Witts then began punching him and pulling his hair out of his head, the victim said.

Snyder and Witts, who are white, repeatedly hurled racial epithets as they attacked the victim, who is black, police said. Police said they also used multiple racial epithets during questioning.

Police who responded to the station said they saw that the victim was bleeding profusely, that there were several hair extensions and fresh blood on the ground and that Snyder had blood stains on his shirt.

Snyder initially said he was thrown down the stairs by the employee, and when asked if he punched the employee said "No," then told police "I punched him a few times" while smiling, police said.

According to police, Witts said the fight started when an employee told them to leave the station and a gate was slammed on her and Snyder. When asked, she admitted to punching an employee and pulling out his hair.

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