Police arrest man who allegedly spat on bus driver

Boston Globe | May 9, 2012 | By Colin A. Young

Boston police today arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly spat on an MBTA bus driver in Roxbury last month, authorities said.

Rafael GuzmanRafael Guzman of Boston was arrested at the corner of Washington and Boylston streets shortly before noon on an assault charge, police said. Guzman was wanted by MBTA Transit Police for allegedly spitting in the face of a driver on a Route 28 bus after the driver asked him to pay the fare.

Police said two men boarded the bus at the intersection of Warren and Hazelwood streets around 8:45 p.m. on April 18. When the 51-year-old bus driver insisted that they pay, Guzman turned and spat into the driver’s face. The second man “verbally threatened the operator while reaching toward his waistband, implying that he had a weapon.’’

The incident was captured by a surveillance camera installed on the bus.

Last week, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said 24 bus drivers were spat on last year, and 12 spitting incidents have already been reported in 2012. Including the spitting incidents, there have been 29 assaults on T workers this year, transit police said last week.

Deputy Transit Police Chief Joseph O’Connor told the Globe last week that transit police are also seeking a change to state law regarding the arrests of those who assault transit workers. Under current law, authorities must summon suspects to court at a later date, if the assault did not occur when officers were present.

Allowing officers to arrest suspects on buses and other T property, even if the officers did not actually witness the assault, would send the right message, O’Connor said.

“People should be able to see that there is immediate action in these types of cases,’’ he told the Globe.

Travis Andersen of the Globe staff also contributed to this report. Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com.

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