San Francisco

SF Mayor Backs Dismissal of Muni Driver Who Made Racist Remarks

SFMTA has not released the name of the operator, who is on paid adminsitrative leave until the investigation is completed

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday backed the dismissal of a Muni driver who a day earlier was recorded making racist remarks to a woman parking her car downtown.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency operator is on paid administrative leave after the recording went viral.

"This ugly behavior will never be tolerated," Lee said. "I applaud the SFMTA for taking swift action after this video came to light and seeking termination for this individual."

The video, posted by Mayra Villarreal on Facebook on Monday morning, had been viewed nearly 25,000 times as of 6 p.m. Monday and generated some strong reaction from viewers. (Warning, the video contains graphic content.)

“Racist, ignorant, MUNI bus driver gets mad at me for taking an open parking spot! This happened today, People like this make me sick!” Villarreal wrote.

The video shows an SF Muni operator in uniform pulling up next to Villarreal’s car, and then telling her: “I was waiting. You’re just a n____r, that’s OK, that’s fine.”

“I’m a what?” Villarreal asks him.

“You’re a n_____r,” he says, to which she replies, “I’m not even black.”

The operator then says, “You stole my space ... You’re a gangb_____.”

Villarreal then says: "Sir, this is downtown, if you see a space you take it."

A few seconds later, the man backs up in his car and says something, at which point Villarreal asks him: “Are you threatening me? ... Well I have your license plate, and I have your face... Have a good day, sir."

Villarreal says in her Facebook post that she reported the incident to the SFMTA HR department. Attempts to contact her for comment were not immediately successful.

The San Francisco Examiner first reported the investigation, which SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose later confirmed.

Rose said that the agency found out about the incident Monday morning.

"We worked to identify the operator involved," Rose said. "While the matter is still under investigation, we are taking immediate and corrective action. We take this very seriously and this is not representative of the transit operator workforce ... This is unacceptable behavior."

SFMTA has not released the name of the operator, who Rose said is on paid adminstrative leave until the investigation is completed.

NBC Bay Area's Stephen Ellison contributed to this report.

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