A Massachusetts man is facing civil rights and bomb threat charges after he yelled anti-Muslim slurs at a woman wearing a headscarf and falsely claimed she had a bomb during a tirade on an Orange Line train on Monday night.
Sean P. Devlin, 34, with listed addresses in North Reading and Boston, is charged with violating a person's civil rights, making a false bomb threat, and malicious destruction of property over $250. Bail was set at $10,000 at his arraignment Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court. He was also ordered to stay away from the victim, witnesses and all MBTA transportation if he makes bail.
Prosecutors said Devlin was on board an inbound Orange Line train when he allegedly began shouting anti-Muslim slurs at 61-year-old Malika Touirtou wearing a headscarf and making false accusations about her having a bomb that would "kill us all."
Touirtou was heading home from her mosque after a long day of prayer when the incident occurred.
"He said to me a bad word, he said to me, 'go back to your country, why are you coming here,'" said Touirtou, in an exclusive interview with NBC Boston. "I talked to him, 'this is my country, what's your problem."
Touirtou and a witness told responding MBTA Transit Police officers that Devlin also hit her in the back with an umbrella, for which he could face additional charges. He then allegedly kicked and punched a window on the train until it shattered.
"He pushed me like this, for what, for what he pushed me, this is America, nobody pushes other people," she said.
"Behavior like this is inexcusable," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said Wednesday. "There's no place for hate in Boston or Suffolk County."
Transit Police arrested Devlin at North Station and said they found three small bottles of alcohol in his pockets. He also had active arrest warrants for misdemeanor offenses out of Woburn, Somerville and Lowell district courts.
After Devlin was arrested, officers and MBTA personnel did a check of the train and found nothing unusual. Train service was then restored.
"I don’t want any problem with nobody because I’m old, I’m good woman, I have good heart, I like everybody, I love America," Touirtou said.
The incident occurred just two days after three New Hampshire teens were arrested for allegedly beating the popular street performer Keytar Bear while using racial slurs. Prosecutors said they are pursuing civil rights charges in that case as well.
Despite the assault, Touirtou says she just wants Devlin to get help.
"I don’t like him go to jail because maybe he’s not normal," said Touirtou.