UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) – An MTA employee supervisor was attacked on a subway platform and almost pushed onto the tracks during his overnight shift last Tuesday at around 3 a.m.
The victim, Saim Montakim, said he can’t sleep at night since the attack, which happened on the uptown platform while waiting for the No. 1 train at the 96th Street station on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
“All of a sudden I was pushed by a stranger,” Montakim said. “It was totally unprovoked.”
Montakim stopped himself from falling onto the tracks and grabbed the handrail of the stairs.
“At that time, he punched me in my face several times,” Montakim added. “It happened so quick that I was like shocked. I was pretty nervous. I didn’t know what to do.”
Okoro Nnamadi, 34, of the Bronx, was charged with assault. Assaulting an MTA employee is a felony, but the suspect was charged with a misdemeanor.
Although Montakim was on duty, the NYPD said there was nothing that made him stand out as an MTA worker. He wasn’t wearing a vest, didn’t identify himself as an MTA employee during the attack, and wasn’t performing any job-related duties at the time. He had completed an inspection and was waiting on the platform to head to the next station for another inspection.
Michael Carrube is the president of the Subway Surface Supervisors Association, the union that represents MTA supervisors.
“It’s absolutely outrageous to me,” Carrube said.
Carrube fought for an extension of the law that increases penalties on all MTA workers, which went into effect last year.
“There [are] no extensions to this where it says whether you’re in uniform or not in uniform,” Carrube said. “If you are an MTA New York City Transit supervisor, it is a second-degree felony.”
Statistics from the MTA Department of Security show that hundreds of MTA employees were victims of assault or harassment last year. There were 14 incidents involving station supervisors.
Montakim lives in the Bronx and has spent the last week traveling to doctor appointments. He said he has PTSD and replays the attack over in his head, thinking he could have died.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be suffering from that and also, I have pain in my back, right-hand side jaw and neck as well,” Montakim added.
He doesn’t know when he will return to work, but he said he feels supported by the MTA.
MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey told PIX11 News in a statement:
“We won’t tolerate senseless attacks on transit employees working to help New Yorkers get where they need to go. This outrageous assault could have ended tragically and we are grateful to the NYPD officers who rapidly arrested the perpetrator. Now it’s up to prosecutors to obtain maximum possible justice for the victim. We urge that this attacker also be banned from NYC Transit.”
While the assault charge is a misdemeanor right now, the Manhattan district attorney could upgrade it to a felony.