A veteran Boston police officer uttered racial slurs during an alleged assault of an Uber driver in South Boston early Sunday, according to a police report and a statement from the department.
Officer Michael Doherty, 40, of South Boston, a 16-year-veteran, was placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest on charges of assault and battery and of using a motor vehicle without authority, police said.
He could not be reached for comment, and his union president did not return a call late Sunday.
According to a police statement, an Uber driver told officers at about 2:45 a.m. that a passenger, later identified as Doherty, had assaulted him. The driver also said Doherty repeatedly used racial slurs during the encounter, according to a police report obtained by the Globe.
When the vehicle was on East Second Street, the driver reported, Doherty said they were in the wrong place and asked, “What, you think I’m stupid, you [expletive],” followed by a racist term for Latinos, the report said.
Doherty told the man to keep driving and began hitting him when he stopped at East Second and M Streets, prompting the driver to get out, according to the report.
The officer chased the driver around the vehicle, the report said, and the driver waved down motorists for help until a man stopped to offer assistance. At that point, Doherty got behind the wheel of the Uber vehicle and drove off, according to the police report.
The Uber driver got into the assisting man’s car, and they followed Doherty, who exited the victim’s vehicle at East First Street and Farragut Road, the report said.
He walked toward the Uber driver and the man who provided help, who is black, and said, “What do you want, you [expletive],” and then used the n-word, the report said.
Doherty allegedly knocked the Uber driver to the ground and kept hitting him as the other man tried to pull Doherty off, the report said. Doherty walked away when police arrived but was later arrested. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in South Boston District Court.
Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, said in a statement that their thoughts were with the driver, adding that they have barred Doherty from using the service per company policy and “stand ready to assist law enforcement” in the investigation.