Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

Accused T spitter represents self in court

LYNN — A Chelsea man said he spit on a bus but not an MBTA bus driver during an argument June 18 that the man said was sparked by his talking too loudly on a cell phone.

“The subject stepped off the bus and said to the operator, ‘See, I spit on you and you’re still not going to do anything about it,’” Transit Police Officer Ardrena Lyles wrote in a police report detailing an interview with the bus driver.

Jeffrey Martinez, 22, of 80 Everett Ave., Chelsea, was arrested and charged with assault and battery on a public employee; assault with a dangerous weapon, an umbrella; and interfering with public transportation.

Martinez pleaded not guilty and chose to represent himself at his arraignment in Lynn District Court Monday.

A prosecutor did not present the case, simply requesting a bail warning be given and Martinez stay away from the alleged victim.

But police said a driver of Route 435 at approximately 10:30 p.m. June 18 reported that he asked a man — later identified as Martinez — to leave the bus because Martinez “was yelling at another passenger who had ‘looked at him.’”

The driver told police Martinez then tried to get the driver to fight him and then spit on the driver’s face and shoulder.

Police released photographs from the incident, and two anonymous callers identified Martinez as the person shown in the photos, according to police. Martinez later told officers he had been talking on his cellphone and “became upset when a passenger, annoyed at Martinez’ loud cell phone conversation, continued to look back at him,” police reported.

Martinez said the driver stopped the bus in the middle of the street about two blocks from Central Square and asked Martinez to leave, according to police.

Police said Martinez told them he argued with the driver for approximately five minutes, pointed his umbrella in the driver’s face “to instigate and antagonize (the driver),” and then spit “toward the lower extremities of the bus operator, and nowhere near the bus operator’s face.”

“I didn’t physically touch him,” Martinez said in court Monday. “I spit outside the bus, spit on the bus.”

Martinez said Monday he had lost his job because of the incident and had no money to hire an attorney or pay the fee for a court-appointed attorney, so would represent himself.

“I would hit the law books if I were you,” Judge James LaMothe replied. LaMothe released Martinez on personal recognizance and ordered him to stay away from the alleged victim.

Martinez is to return to court Aug. 21.

Cyrus Moulton can be reached at [email protected].

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