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‘It’s because you are black,’ bus driver told man after passing him at bus stop, transit officials say

Kevin Brooks says a Martha’s Vineyard bus driver told him he didn’t pick him up from the bus stop because he’s black. The bus driver has been fired.
Kevin Brooks says a Martha’s Vineyard bus driver told him he didn’t pick him up from the bus stop because he’s black. The bus driver has been fired. AP

It was unusual when the bus passed Kevin Brooks on Wednesday without indicating that it was full, Martha’s Vineyard Times reported.

Brooks, 35, told the newspaper the buses typically tell him when they’re at capacity, but this time it drove right past him at the stop in Edgartown, a town on the Massachusetts island. The driver even looked at him as the bus kept moving, according to the Vineyard Gazette.

Brooks — who commutes from New Bedford — then took an Uber to Oak Bluffs, where the bus was headed, the Times reported. He got there not long after it had arrived, so he decided to ask the driver why he had passed him, the newspaper said.

The driver’s response was “a bit of a shock,” Brooks told the Gazette.

The bus driver first told him that the bus was full, according to the Vineyard Transit Authority, which reviewed surveillance footage from the vehicle, CBS Boston reported. But Brooks continued to seek answers, and that’s when the driver gave another reason: “Well, it’s because you are black,” the news station said.

Brooks called the authority after the incident, the Times reported.

“Maybe he was having a bad day and the wrong thing came out of his mouth,” Brooks said. “I’m not about any drama at all. I just want to provide for my family. I’m not here for a political debate.”

The authority says the driver has been fired, “effective immediately,” according to CBS Boston. It says it has a “zero tolerance policy” for such behavior, the news station reported.

Brooks told the Gazette he’s reached out to a civil rights lawyer about the incident.

An officer for the Cook County Forest Preserves has been assigned to desk duty after a video appeared to show him failing to help a woman who was being harassed because she wore a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag.

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