A man was arrested Wednesday for assaulting a woman on the New York City subway last month because she shared a brief kiss with another woman.
The women friends, who have still remained unnamed, were aboard a Manhattan-bound E train in Queens around 5:10 p.m., when the assault took place. While making a Snapchat post, one woman kissed the other on the cheek, the New York Daily News reports.
“That’s when the guy across from us started screaming slurs at us … I guess the kiss triggered him,” the unnamed 20-year-old woman told the Daily News.
Allah Allasheed lashed out against them, reportedly threatening, “Don’t do that gay shit in front of me! Do that one more time and watch what happens!”
The young woman got up to walk away but he got up, approached them from behind, and punched one of the women in the back of her head, shoving her to the ground. She was transferred by an ambulance to nearby Elmhurst Hospital, where she was treated for fractured spine due to the blow to her head, the NYPD confirmed to OUT earlier this month.
“I cried a lot the first week,” she told the Daily News. “It really got to me. You never think these things will happen to you … I’m like, ‘That would never happen to me because I’m too careful.’”
Allah was charged Thursday with aggravated harassment and assault as a hate crime, facing 15 years in prison if convicted. He is being held on $150,000 bail. He was identified by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, which led the investigation. According to the Daily News, Allah completely copped to his actions.
According to annual statistics released by the FBI, hate crimes increased across the country last year by 5 percent, and crimes committed against LGBTQ people, Jews, and Muslims, were particularly high. Previously, the Daily News reported that hate crimes in New York, however, were up 17 percent in 2017, as per the NYPD. The Anti-Violence Project, which documents hate crimes against queer people, recorded the highest number of LGBTQ+ homicides in the organization’s 20-year history, with 52 documented in 2017. That’s a 86 percent increase in single incidents over 2016.
As Gregory M. Herek, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis told the New York Times in 2016 in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, as society becomes generally more tolerant of LGBTQ people, through culture and policy, those who still oppose them may be prompted to become more radical, says.
“They may feel that the way they see the world is threatened, which motivates them to strike out in some way, and for some people, that way could be in violent attacks,” Herek told the Times.