New York City police have arrested and charged a Manhattan man for allegedly punching three people in an apparent anti-gay attack on the subway over a month ago.
Jonathan Santos, 33, faces three charges of assault as hate crimes and two counts of aggravated harassment as hate crimes for attacking two 19-year-old men on a Queens-bound E train around 3:30 a.m. on July 31.
Police claim Santos approached the pair and made anti-gay and derogatory comments about them. He then punched one in the face multiple times, and, as the train pulled into Court Square station, began punching the second victim in the face.
A 32-year-old woman acting as a Good Samaritan tried to intervene on the teen’s behalf, but was sucker-punched by Santos as the train took off. All three victims later exited the train at the Queens Plaza subway station, while Santos remained on the train.
All three victims suffered minor facial injuries in the attacks, with the woman also suffering a fractured tooth, reports the Sunnyside Post.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigated the attack and arrested Santos in the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill last Tuesday.
The initial incident was one of several anti-LGBTQ crimes that took place in New York City over the spring and summer, after the city loosened social distancing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to NYPD statistics, there were 376 recorded hate crimes in the city from the start of the year to Sept. 5 — marking a 99% increase from the 189 recorded hate crimes that occurred during the same time period last year.
The city also experienced several high-profile attacks believed to be motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias over those months, including incidents in which a doctor who had to have his jaw wired shut after being attacked and called anti-gay slurs, a transgender woman who was stabbed with a screwdriver while riding the subway, a man who was stabbed with an ice pick while riding the subway, and a straight man who was stabbed and called anti-gay slurs after he attempted to stop a man from harassing women at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
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