Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office has ordered John Twohig to stay away from a female MBTA bus operator that he allegedly assaulted last July during what has been described as a “racially motivated verbal assault.” The action was brought against the Somerville man under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA), which is also known as the “hate crimes” statute.
Per the order, Twohig is not allowed to violate the civil rights of the victim or anyone else on the grounds of their race. He allegedly took part in a Massachusetts hate crime that involved the verbal and physically threatening assault of the bus operator at the Sullivan Square Busway. Twohig is accused of screamed profanities and racial epithets at the woman before launching toward her. He also is said to have insulted one of the bus passengers with a racial epithet. An MBTA inspector eventually removed him from the bus. Coakley’s office is seeking a permanent injunction against the defendant.
Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA)
The MCRA gives the Attorney General’s Office the authority to obtain injunctions against people that intimidate, threaten, or coerce victims on the grounds of sexual orientation, religion, race, disability, or another type of protected class or because they have taken part in a protected activity, such as the right to vote. A hate crime does not have to include an actual act of physical violence for a person to be charged with committing the offense. That said, a Massachusetts hate crime may also include acts of vandalism, the destruction of personal property, arson, assault and battery, or murder.
Possible penalties for a Massachusetts hate crime can include:
• Fines • A prison sentence
• Counseling • Anger management • Probation • Suspension of one’s driver’s license • Rehabilitation • Victim restitution • Community service
Since 2007, Coakley’s office has obtained 42 civil rights injunctions for Massachusetts hate crime victims.
Somerville Man Accused of Hate Crime Ordered to Stay Away From MBTA Worker Under Order Obtained by AG Coakley’s Office, Mass.gov, December 17, 2010
Man ordered to stay away from T driver in alleged racial incident, Boston.com, December 17, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Attorney General Martha Coakley, Mass.gov
Hate Crimes, FBI
The best way to combat Boston hate crimes charges against you is to work with an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense law firm.