A man who punched and choked a woman while riding the subway in Brooklyn, and threatened a second woman while riding a bus, has been charged with hate crimes for the assaults.
According to the New York Daily News, Richard Taylor, 28, of Brookyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, reportedly screamed, “You’re a f****t” at the 23-year-old woman, punching her in the face and choking her after she refused to talk to him while the two were riding the Q train in Brooklyn on August 25.
The victim was not badly injured but did seek medical treatment on her own, according to New York CW affiliate WPIX. Police subsequently released a photo of the suspect on September 9, asking the public to help identify him.
A police investigation identified Taylor as the assailant. Police also linked him to an incident from October 24, in which a woman riding the B46 bus in Flatlands, Brooklyn reported that a man sat next to her and touched her. He also took offense at her appearance, hurling anti-gay slurs at her, spitting at her, and threatening, at different points, to stab her or shoot her.
The victim in that later incident, Candace Felix, told the Daily News that she was on her way to work at Kings Plaza Mall when Taylor “locked eyes” with her.
“He started going crazy, screaming, and jumping,” Felix said. “He was just calling me gay, telling me I’m a f****t, I am wearing boy clothes. I am ‘working for the white man’ (and) I need to find a better job and ‘stop working for the white.'”
Taylor then moved closer to Felix, sat beside her and her friend, and tried to touch her.
“I had to move from the seat because he had started to touch me,” Felix told the Daily News. “He touched my leg and once on my shoulder. At this moment, he came to sit in front of me now telling me more stuff like ‘Why you were in boy clothes? Are you a lady? Are you a man?'”
She says onlookers who boarded the bus told Taylor to get off and leave Felix alone.
“He said he was in a gang and he’ll shoot them,” Felix said. “Then he spat on me twice. He had a key in his hand and he said he’ll slash me in my face.”
Felix managed to stay quiet until Taylor fled without hurting her. Police eventually arrested Taylor last week.
Taylor was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court on charges of menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment for his actions against Felix.
He was also charged with strangulation, assault, and harassment as hate crimes for the subway attack. He is currently being held in prison on a $40,000 bond.
According to police, Taylor was previously charged with reckless endangerment for running through the D train while yelling, “I’m tired of people fucking with me.”
Taylor’s attacks are part of a long string of assaults either involving LGBTQ people or in which assailants have flung anti-gay slurs at their victims. In August, a shirtless man assaulted a female jogger in Manhattan, yelling anti-gay slurs as he attacked her. That followed an incident in which a man allegedly punched a fellow subway rider in the face, breaking her nose, after she objected to him groping her.
Felix told the Daily News that the encounter with Taylor made her uncomfortable and prompted her to call out of work for the remainder of that week to deal with the trauma she experienced.
She has since managed to recover and resume living her life, but believes the city needs to put police officers on buses — just as they do on subway trains — to protect riders from similar incidents.
“I think he should be in jail because if he could do it to somebody like this two months before me, he could come back out and do it again,” Felix said of Taylor. “If you give him two months in jail, one year in jail, he will do it again. You can’t traumatize people like that for living their lifestyle.”
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