New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now directing the state’s hate crime task force to help investigate a recent MTA bus attack on an unsuspecting teenager.
The attack, which was caught on a now-viral security video, showed a middle-aged white man hurling homophobic slurs at the teen before punching him in the head on a bus in Chelsea last month.
“Recent media reports and surveillance video released of an anti-LGBTQ hate crime on a bus in New York City are downright disturbing, and New Yorkers deserve answers,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Calling the unprovoked attack on the teenaged victim “repugnant to everything we stand for in New York,” the governor directed the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to “immediately offer assistance investigating this cowardly act.”
The attack occurred around 5:00 p.m. on November 22 on the M23 MTA bus as it traveled west in Chelsea. According to reports, the 19-year-old victim was riding the bus when the assailant walked up and started harassing him.
“You have long hair,” the older man reportedly said. “I don’t like people like you.”
Witnesses told police the man then added, “I hate gay people” before sucker punching the teen in the head and making a quick escape off the bus.
The unnamed victim suffered some bruising on the head, but refused any medical treatment for the injuries.
Craig Cipriano, MTA’s head of buses, was quoted in the New York Post echoing Cuomo’s sentiments, describing the attack and hate crimes as “repugnant to the values of the MTA, our riders and all New Yorkers.”
“We are cooperating with the NYPD and State Police investigations and appreciate their diligent efforts to bring this perpetrator to justice,” he added.
Governor Cuomo’s statement made clear how he feels about the attack: “Make no mistake. We do not tolerate bias attacks in the Empire State, and we will always defend New Yorkers who are targeted for being who they are.”
Police say the man in the video is wanted for questioning. He is variously described as a white male, approximately 30 to 40 years of age, with blonde hair that might be tied in a ponytail.
Anyone with information about the attack should contact the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted using the CrimeStoppers website at CrimeStoppers.NYPDonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.