CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Transit workers fought off, cornered and detained a man at a Brooklyn station on Friday after he allegedly assaulted a train operator, according to the union representing transit workers.
Tanya McCray was leaving the crew room at the Stillwell Ave. station around 12:30 a.m. when Jean Francois Coste, 53, approached, officials said. He appeared to be intoxicated.
McCray told him that he couldn’t go into a non-public area of the Brooklyn station, authorities said. Coste allegedly responded by punching her at least twice in the face.
The transit worker punched at Coste and swung her lunch box at him, according to union officials. Another train operator came and pushed him away.
“Thank God for him,” McCray said. “He really came to the rescue and helped me.”
Coste allegedly fled to the platform and got onto a train, according to the Union. Transit workers stopped him though and kept him at the station until police arrived.
Police arrested Coste on assault charges. He was released without bail, according to the union. Local 100 President Richard Davis slammed the decision.
“The public should be treating transit workers as heroes, not punching bags,” Davis said. “Time and time again we’ve stepped up for this city, most recently working through the pandemic, and this is the thanks we get. It has to stop. We will see this guy in court.”
There was also an attack on transit workers Sunday at the Times Square station.
“We have zero tolerance for attacks on transit workers and two senseless assaults days apart on employees just trying to do their jobs for the public is outrageous,” NYC Transit Chief Operating Officer Craig Cipriano said. “We are grateful that the NYPD made immediate arrests in both cases, at Coney Island and Times Square, and hope the injured workers have a speedy recovery.”