Subway conductor recounts fleeing from razor-wielding passenger in police-defunded NYC

NEW YORK CITY, NY – A subway conductor had just wrapped up a shift during the early morning hours of May 10th when he was reportedly confronted by an armed man who chased him down and even spat on him.

What makes it worse for the victim, police reportedly refused to arrest the assailant identified by the MTA employee.

Kevin Rivera is the subway conductor in question, where after having finished his shift, he reportedly took the No. 7 train from Flushing-Main St. to Mets-Willets Point at approximately 1:30 a.m. on May 10th.

According to Rivera, when he got on the train, he encountered the assailant:

“I got on the train and he was smoking something, maybe a cigarette. When he noticed me in my MTA uniform, he started yelling profanities, telling me it was his car, this is his house, this is his hood, and that I couldn’t stay there.”

Rivera reportedly got off the train at the first stop, where the assailant had followed Rivera and then started to chase him:

“I started running, and he spat on me a disgusting snot that hit my head, ran down my ear and onto my shoulder. As he got closer, I saw he had a box cutter. He threatened to cut me. I ran for my life.”

The subway conductor had managed to reach a token booth at the station, where the attendant let him in so as to keep him protected from the assailant.

Rivera was able to capture some video of the confrontation at that point, where the assailant can reportedly be seen banging on the token booth bullet-proof glass and flashing what were described as various gang signs.

Police were said to have arrived on the scene roughly 15 minutes after the incident, where Rivera said that police refused to arrest the assailant.

Rivera explained that when he told officers that the assailant had spit on him, the officers claimed that spitting on someone isn’t considered assault:

“The cops told me that spit is not an assault. They told me has to physically harm you for them to make an arrest.”

Increased protections for MTA employees have been an ongoing request by various MTA unions.

Back in February, local reports noted that the MTA Labor Coalition rallied calls to have New York address and amend penal law so as to “make spitting, kicking, shoving, and other physical contact with transit workers the misdemeanor crime of aggravated assault.”

Apparently, state law only regards spitting on someone as being an offense worthy of a citation.

ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello said at the time that these sorts of offenses need to be treated as felonies so as to protect transit workers:

“We need this to be a felony. We need people to go to jail and know there’s a consequence.”

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Earlier in May, Law Enforcement Today shared a report regarding an MTA employee that was slashed in an attack that left the victim in critical condition. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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NEW YORK CITY, NY– New York City has become a dangerous place since Mayor de Blasio chose to defund the police, and the subways in New York are not exempt from the crime. 

In the latest violent act that occurred on the New York City subway, a conductor was hospitalized and left in critical condition, causing the calls for action to grow louder and louder by the day. 

The transit workers union has released a video recently, which showcased Cassandra Sykes speaking about her nephew, Girard Sykes, who was slashed on the J train near Fulton and Crescent Street, on Wednesday, May 5th. 

Skyes said:

“It is not safe for the transit workers or the public to ride trains or buses,” 

In this incident, a man who was passing through the train, slashed the conductor with an orange box cutter behind his ear and left him there to die. The TWU Local 100 union took a picture of the 52-year-old father of three, which shows him intubated in the hospital. He needed at least two surgeries so far.  

According to officials, the suspect fled the train and ran out of the Crescent Street station. He was last seen walking along Crescent Street.

NBC 4 reported that in another incident on Thursday, May 6th, police said a transit motorman was attacked in the Bronx after he confronted a man who was smoking on the train. The person allegedly went to the worker’s cab, slammed the door into him and knocked him unconscious.

Skyes said:

“We cannot keep living like this day after day worrying about our people that’s getting up coming to work for you,” 

Skyes went on to say:

“Do something, please do something.”

On Thursday, May 6th, the MTA leaders joined together with the transit workers union to host a news conference outside of the Jamaica hospital where Sykes is recovering.

Union president, Tony Utano said in a statement:

“Every day on my phone I get messages from command. Our members are getting spit on, they’re getting punched, they’re getting stabbed and then you have a mayor that says there’s no problem. There is a problem,” 

The police department statistics show while overall subway crime is down this year — felony assault is up 20% this year compared to last. Taking into account lower ridership because of the pandemic, the MTA and the union say the number of assaults has increased but the NYPD Transit Chief last month accused workers of fearmongering, NBC 4 reported.

In order to combat subway crime in the 90’s, the NYPD placed 4,300 police officers in the subway system, and now the MTA is asking for that to be repeated in an attempt to take control of the massive crime increase. 

In February, a half hearted attempt was made when 600 police officers were reportedly placed there, however, on Thursday, Mayor de Blasio mistakenly said that some of those officers have been removed already. 

The mayor doubled down on the safety of the subway during his daily news briefing, praising the NYPD’s “outstanding job” in making the system safe.

Mayor de Blasio said:

“If you said to one of my kids, ‘oh, you shouldn’t go on the subway. It’s not safe.’ They would laugh you out of the room, they would tell you, you clearly couldn’t be a real New Yorker,” 

He continued:

“They couldn’t think of life without taking the subway, and let’s get real. Let’s tell people it’s safe because it is safe, and it’s part of our recovery. It’s part of how we come back. The more people go back to the subway, the safer it will be, the stronger the recovery will be.”

De Blasio’s comments come in response to the call for action. In addition to adding more police officers, the transit workers union has called on city leaders to provide mental health services after three people suffering from mental health issues halted train service in one day. 

On Wednesday, May 5th, the MTA said in a statement:

“Three incidents in less than four hours involving people threatening harm to NYCT employees is a stark reminder of why the City needs to surge essential mental health services and police officers ASAP,”

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Author: Gregory Hoyt


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