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Homeless Boston Couple Assaults Black Public Employee, Calls Him ‘N*gger’

Robert Snyder and Shayla Witts, who assaulted a MBTA employee, kiss before hearing.

Robert Snyder and Shayla Witts, who assaulted a MBTA employee, kiss before their arraignment.

A homeless couple in Boston accused of attacking a Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority employee because he was Black will be held without bail on probation violations.

Court records say the MBTA employee, who was Black, working the southbound platform Sunday at Downtown Crossing at 3:30 a.m., was closing the station when he began escorting out the homeless couple Robert G. Snyder, 50, and Shayla M. Witts, 28.

According to The Boston Globe, Snyder allegedly punched the employee and broke his nose before grabbing him in a bear hug. While vulnerable, Witts allegedly began punching the employee and began pulling out his hair, according to an affidavit from an MBTA patrol supervisor. Snyder and Witts allegedly used racial epithets as they assaulted the employee.

The Globe said that when police arrived, there was a trail of blood about 30 feet long with hair pieces from the victim’s head, according to court records.

Police said Snyder had blood stains on his shirt, left shoulder and left forearm.

“I punched him a few times,” Snyder allegedly told police.

Witts, while using racially charged language, told the police that the incident started when another employee told them to leave the station, according to The Globe.

According to, Witts told police, “her man” had “done 17 years in prison and doesn’t take sh*t from ni**ers.”

Both Snyder and Witts resisted arrest, according to court records. Snyder was able to get away, but was found two hours later still wearing handcuffs in the Massachusetts General Hospital parking garage.

Assistant District Attorney Brett Walker told The Globe that Snyder has been convicted of assault 12 times, along with several other lesser convictions and guilty pleas.

Witt’s right eye was badly bruised and swollen at Monday’s hearing. Tracy Dudevoir, the public defender for Witts at the bail hearing, said that the injuries occurred during the incident.

According to Witt’s lawyer, she has a non-violent criminal history and a pending prostitution charge. She is the mother of an eight-year-old child with autism.

In a Boston Municipal Courtroom on Monday, Snyder and Witts kissed before the prosecutor read off the allegations against them, according to The Globe.

Both face charges of assault, battery with racial intimidation and disorderly conduct. They were granted bail on Monday’s charges, $10,000 for Snyder and $5,000 for Witts, but they won’t be released because the charges represent probation violations. They are due back in court on Dec. 15.

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