FLATBUSH, Brooklyn — Community advocates handed out flyers of a police sketch at the Church Street subway station of the B/Q line. They want to flood the neighborhood with pictures of the man police say assaulted a 57-year-old woman on November 9 in an unprovoked attack.
The NYPD is now investigating as a hate crime.
Ann Marie Washington was on her way home from work and had just gotten off the subway, when police say an unknown man ambushed her from behind, punched and stabbed her with what could be an ice pick. Eyewitnesses say he also yelled racial slurs.
Tonight, her community is rallying around her, calling for the man in the sketch to be caught.
“He is not welcome in this neighborhood and we are going to get him where he belongs, in jail,” said Monique Waterman, Director of East Flatbush, Inc. “This is not what’s supposed to happen in our community, we should be able take the train and not worry about being assaulted.”
They want to keep the focus on the suspect still on the loose. “The community is afraid, they’re upset, they’re traumatized,” Waterman said.
As they handed out flyers to straphangers, they told the crowd “Help us find this hate crime suspect, get him off the streets.”
There has been a rise in hate crimes in our area in the last year. Waterman says one reason is the ugly political rhetoric.
“We have to take a stance and unite no matter what’s going on in politics, we need to be sure as community members, to do our part to make sure our community is safe,” Waterman said.
Commuters were overly receptive. One woman telling PIX11, “It’s horrible, so it’s good that there’s a picture now at least we all know what to look out for.”
“You just have to look, you have to see who’s different walking around, you leave the same time every day, I’ll notice that guy I’ll watch out for him,” said another woman.
This is one of a string of recent troubling incidents - all in our city’s subway system.
On the same day Washington was attacked, a 55-year-old man was standing on the No. 6 train platform inside the Brooklyn Bridge station when another man pushed him onto the tracks. He survived the attack.
Then last weekend, a 63-year-old woman was punched by a man when she asked him to move his bag off a seat so she could sit down.
Just today, two women were arrested for attacking a mom on the train, in front of her 8-year-old son.