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Suspect in fatal Union Square ‘I hate white people’ attack says he’s an equal opportunity puncher, not racist

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(PIX11) – Although he’s accused of yelling “I hate white people!” before fatally punching a white man in Union Square Park September 4, Lashawn Marten says he’s no racist.

“I’ve punched white people. I’ve punched brown people. I’ve punched Hispanic people,”  40-year-old Marten, who is black, told the Daily News in a jailhouse interview. “So what? I don’t target anyone.”


Brooklyn resident Jeffrey Babbitt died at Bellevue Hospital after a seemingly unprovoked attack at Union Square. (Image: Handout via Newsday)

Witnesses say Marten, who has an extensive rap sheet which includes assault charges, shouted that he was going to “punch the first white person” he saw before striking 62-year-old Jeffrey Babbitt in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement. Those at the scene said Babbitt tried to give Marten a sandwich before the fatal blow. “The guy (Babbitt) gave him some sandwiches, and he threw it down on the floor,” Twitty, a chess player in the park, said.  “And then he punched the dude and and that dude fell, that’s the guy that died.”

Babbitt died Monday at Bellevue Hospital.


Jeffrey Babbitt was knocked to the ground and left bleeding after the attack in Union Square Park. (Photo contributed to PIX11 News)

Marten allegedly tried to attack two other men who tried to help Babbitt before he was arrested at the scene. He was charged with second- and third-degree assault. Those charges are likely to be upgraded in light of Babbitt’s death.

“You think I’m afraid of these charges?” Marten told the Daily News. On top of an extensive list of arrests, Marten has been treated for mental illness and spent time in homeless shelters.

Marten is being held on $1 million bail. He is due back in court September 24.