'This train is going to Tijuana': Metrolink passenger says security guard at Riverside station made racist remark

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A Metrolink passenger says a security guard at a Riverside station made a racist remark about Hispanic passengers, saying the train was "going to Tijuana." (Felisha Carrasco/Twitter)

A Metrolink passenger says a security guard at a Riverside station made a racist remark about Hispanic passengers, saying the train was "going to Tijuana."

Felisha Carrasco posted a short video clip on Twitter about the incident on Saturday.
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Felisha Carrasco tweeted this video, saying a security guard at a Riverside Metrolink station made a racist remark about Hispanic passengers, saying the train was "going to Tijuana."


"This a------ just said the train is going to Tijuana because there's Hispanics, including my dad," Carrasco says.

At that point, the train's conductor can be seen on video turning toward Carrasco and saying, "He was talking to me," to which Carrasco replies, "Who cares?"

She followed up her original tweet with a photo of the security guard with the caption:

"The security who said this, his name is Tom Balaja. He came up afterwards and said he was trying to make the train move faster and that it was a "joke" He could have denied he said that, but instead, he confirmed it by coming up afterwards and adding more," Carrasco tweeted.

Carrasco said she was kicked off the train "for telling him that was racist."

"Yes they kicked me off the train. Because I called him a racist a------, so because of my language they kicked me off. But I don't apologize for being honest," Carrasco explained in the tweet thread.

Metrolink released a statement on Tuesday, saying it is taking the incident very seriously, though clarifying that the security guard at the center of the situation is not a Metrolink employee or contractor.

"We contacted our rider to get more information and reached out to the employer of the security guard who made the alleged statements. The conductor involved was also taken out of service the day of the incident to be interviewed. We are working to conclude our investigation of this incident, however, we've made clear that Metrolink will not tolerate disrespect and will take action to ensure riders are treated with dignity," the statement read.

The security firm Allied Universal, the company contracted by the Riverside County Transportation Commission, also provided the following statement, saying the employee involved has been suspended pending a full investigation.

"Reports of inappropriate remarks by our employee are of great concern to us and not reflective of the standards and expectations we have set for our security professionals. We do not condone discrimination of any sort, and have taken immediate action to suspend the employee involved, pending a full investigation, in cooperation with our partners Metrolink and RCTC. Allied Universal embraces diversity as an organization made up of people representing the many and diverse communities we take pride in serving."

Carrasco says she does not want the men to lose their jobs - she just wants acknowledgment that the situation was wrong and hurtful.
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