Tolleys at the America Plaza station in downtown San Diego. Photo courtesy Metropolitan Transit System

Police on Tuesday arrested a man who allegedly used a racial epithet during a recorded attack on a Syrian teen-ager.

Port of San Diego harbor police arrested Adrian Vergara, 26, on an alleged misdemeanor narcotics violation Tuesday afternoon.

During the arrest, said San Diego police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi, officers connected Vergara “to the SDPD hate crime investigation.”

Port police summoned the SDPD and took custody of Vergara. They booked him into jail with an expected arraignment on Thursday, the lieutenant said.

The 17-year-old Syrian refugee told authorities he was on his way home from school on the afternoon of Oct. 15 on the San Diego Trolley. He said a man approached him and asked if he was Mexican.

When the teen identified himself as Arabic, the man began shouting anti-Arab and Islamophobic slurs, according to the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Following the assault, which left the victim with facial injuries, the assailant left the trolley at 62nd Street in Encanto.

Detectives tracked down video images that “corroborated what the boy reported about the attack,” Takeuchi said.

The assault occurred nine days after police arrested a man in Little Italy. He stands accused of shoving Muslim women and telling them to “go back to (their) country.”

– City News Service

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