A driver on the Massachusetts Turnpike received a handwritten message on his ticket at a toll plaza that allegedly said, “#Icantbreathe” and “(Expletive) the law.”
Mike Murtha was headed west on the turnpike when he received the toll ticket with the handwritten message.
The use of #Icantbreathe is in reference to the death of Eric Garner, who died after an altercation with a New York City police officer.
Murtha found the message to be absolutely inappropriate, reports WCVB.
"You don't know who's going to get that ticket," Murtha said. "It could be a cop or a family. You hate to see that being passed around."
Martha photographed the toll ticket’s message before turning in the ticket when he paid his bill. He also emailed the photograph to his girlfriend.
“Based on the recent New York City shooting and the pain it has caused, especially around the holiday season, you wouldn’t expect this — especially on a government-issued ticket,” said Murtha. “People are allowed to have their opinions, but everyone is so sensitive, they have to have better judgment.”
The photo was received by the state Department of Transportation, which was able to identify the toll taker who issued it to Murtha, as each ticket issued can be traced back to it’s tollbooth origin.
The man who issued the ticket was questioned by his supervisors. He claims it was handed out by mistake and was the only ticket of its kind.
The worker did admit to writing the message, The Boston Globe reports.
DOT spokesman Michael Verseckes says tickets are saved for 30 days, and if there are others they will surface.
“We expect our employees to adhere to the highest professional standards. At this time we are conducting a review of the situation, and will take immediate disciplinary action if appropriate,” said Verseckes.
The toll taker has been suspended without pay indefinitely, as requested by DOT officials.
Murtha views the toll taker’s actions as a lapse in judgement and hopes he is not fired for over the incident.
"Everyone makes mistakes and unfortunately he has a lapse in judgment," Murtha said.