BOSTON – A mother accused of punching her toddler son in the mouth on a city bus and shouting expletives at him was surrounded by a "hostile" crowd of passengers until police arrived, authorities said Wednesday.
Erica Ryan pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Roxbury District Court to a charge of assault and battery on a child causing injury. Prosecutors requested bail be set at $25,000; a judge set bail at $500 and ordered Ryan to stay away from the boy.
Transit police say the 25-year-old Ryan punched her 1-year-old son and called him names for refusing to eat Tuesday on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus. A "hostile" crowd of passengers surrounded her and wouldn't let her off the bus until authorities arrived, police said.
After police arrived and separated Ryan from the crowd, she shouted, "No one is going to take my baby!" authorities said. Dried blood was around the baby's mouth, police said.
Ryan denied intentionally striking the boy, according to a police report. Her attorney, Adelio De Miranda, didn't return a phone message Wednesday.
"I was just trying to feed my baby on the crowded bus, then my hand slipped and I hit him in the mouth," Ryan said, according to the report.
However, three bus passengers told police that Ryan had been verbally abusing the toddler with a series of vulgar expletives.
The boy was treated at a hospital and is now staying with his grandparents.