In what is now being considered a possible hate crime, a New York man was brutally attacked last week in Union Square after the suspect, Lashawn Marten, 31, yelled, “I hate white people.”
“He said ‘the next white person who walks by I’m going to [expletive deleted],’” one female witness told CBS Local New York. “His fist went in and the man’s head bobbed and he hit the ground and you could hear his skull hitting the ground.”
Hospitalized with critical injuries after his head hit the sidewalk, 62-year-old Jeffrey Babbitt was reportedly left brain dead. He also punched two other people who were treated at the scene, according to CBS Local.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the incident could result in hate crime charges, in addition to felony assault charges, because of witnesses’ accounts of Marten’s alleged comments about targeting white people.
“Obviously our Hate Crimes Task Force is involved in aspects of that case,” Kelly told the TV station.
Witnesses said they were shocked that such an attack could happen in broad daylight and in such a crowded place.
“This is such a crowded area,” witness Garrett Browning said. “This is something that would happen in a back alley, or late at night, but there are so many people here. That’s the strange part.”