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MTA seeks first individual ban from transit system for man who assaulted station cleaner

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MTA Chair Janno Lieber and other transit honchos attend court in the Bronx on Aug. 19, 2022.
Marc A. Hermann / MTA

A man accused of a violent assault on a Bronx subway station cleaner would be the first person ever banned from the region’s transit system if Metropolitan Transportation Authority honchos get their way.

MTA Chair Janno Lieber said Friday he’ll soon request that Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark request that a judge ban Alexander Wright, 49, from subways, buses, and commuter rails for three years if he is convicted of felony assault for the Aug. 11 attack on station cleaner Anthony Nelson at the Pelham Bay Park 6 train station.

Wright would be the first person to face sanctions under a 2020 state law allowing judges to ban individuals from the entire system if convicted of sex crimes or assaulting a transit worker.

“Attacks on transit workers are unacceptable and we must do everything we can to prevent them and keep our customers and employees safe,” said Lieber in a statement after attending Wright’s court hearing in the Bronx on Friday. “Given the horrific actions of Mr. Wright and his long history of arrests — some of which were for similarly violent attacks — this penalty is warranted. Individuals who assault transit workers have no place on our subways, buses, and trains.”

Prosecutors allege that Nelson, 35, spotted Wright at the end-of-line subway stop harassing other customers and attempted to intervene when he was beaten repeatedly by Wright.

Wright was cuffed on assault and harassment charges, while Nelson was taken to the hospital with a broken collarbone and dislocated nose.

Wright had been arrested on 40 previous occasions, various outlets reported, including last year on hate crime charges for sucker punching an Asian woman walking down the sidewalk in Chinatown. The suspect is being held on a $5,000 bail.

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