MORRIS PLAINS  — A man says he was assaulted verbally and physically on board a NJ Transit train when he couldn't answer a question about whether someone was in a bathroom.

Keith Brown of Morris Plains told News 12 New Jersey that when he didn't know the answer, the man began to scream racial epithets at him and punched him in the face. He said the incident took place on board the train from Newark on Friday night .

Brown, who is Muslim, is seen wearing a cap called a Kufi in a News 12 video report on the incident.

The former boxer said he "got a couple" punches back at the man, defending himself.

NJ Transit in a statement said a "dispute and altercation between two adult males" happened around 11 p.m. on Morris & Essex Line No. 6675. Johnny Juica-Pena, 52, of Morristown, was arrested on charges of harassment, simple assault and bias intimidation.

Brown's sister. Zanetta Brown, told News 12 that her brother was born in Florida and is an American citizen. She and the rest of the family encouraged him to press charges to bring send a message that hatred will not be tolerated.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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