RICHMOND HILL, Queens (PIX11) — A 19-year-old Queens man is still recovering from injuries he suffered when attacked on an MTA bus Sunday morning.
PIX11 News agreed to call the victim “Manny” in order to protect his identity. He was the victim of an unprovoked, religious-based bias attack committed by a male suspect wearing a yellow jacket, according to police.
“He was trying to take off my turban because when he was messing with me he said that ‘You can’t do like that in America.’ I don’t know why he was doing like that. He punched on my neck and my back. When I moved my face, he punched on my nose,” said Manny.
Manny is a practicing Sikh of Indian descent. He said he’s been in the United States for less than a year. At the time of attack, he was getting off the bus along Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill on his way to Sunday service at a Sikh temple just a few blocks away.
The suspect ran off, but MTA officials said police have plenty of video evidence to catch him.
“He should be angry. He should be outraged. What happened to him on our bus — it is unconscionable — and that does not represent what New York City is all about,” said MTA’s Shanifah Rieara.
Sikh community advocate Japneet Singh said he worries about Sikhs, and their noticeable turbans, once again become convenient targets for bias driven suspects.
“We know the history of what happened just after 9/11. A lot of innocent Sikhs, a lot of innocent Muslims were attacked just because of the way they looked. One thing we need to keep in mind is there’s more that unites us than divides us,” Singh said.
Manny is now struggling to process this latest chapter in his new American experience – the good, bad, and the ugly.
“I’m OK now, but I’m really disappointed from this. I came here to feel safe here in America. But this happens and it really upset me,” said Manny.
Manny said he wants justice and the suspect behind bars.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).