Police are searching for a man who assaulted a train operator Wednesday night and left the three-year MTA veteran serious condition after dispute on a Flatbush 5 train platform.
Although the victim has been sent home from the hospital, it is still unclear who sent him there in the first place.
According to NYPD, the operator was attempting to obstruct the soon-to-be assailant from riding between the cars. The man then delivered a single punch the conductor, who then hit his head on the platform, cops said.
With no description of the perp other than his gender, the investigation is ongoing after he fled in an unknown direction. The MTA employee was transported to Kings County Hospital, according to NYPD.
“Tonight’s assault of a conductor who was simply doing his job is despicable,” said Sally Librera, Senior Vice President of Subways. “The conductor was working to keep customers safe and service moving when he was attacked. Transit managers are with the victim now providing any possible assistance. Assaulting a transit employee under any circumstances is appalling and NYC Transit is fully cooperating with the NYPD as it searches for this perpetrator. We will do everything we can to support prosecution to the full extent of the law.”
But the union tells a slightly different story.
According to the Transport Worker Union Local 100, the victim went to check a door that was not closing and found the man blocking the sliding panels with his foot. It was then that the worker was hit with what he described to the union as a club or a bat.
“This was an outrageous attack against an innocent transit worker. I’m disgusted by it,” TWU Local 100 Vice President Eric Loegel said. “I’m glad to report that our union brother is doing better and has been released from the hospital. None of us deserve what this man went through.”
Like Librera, Loegel advocated for the perpetrator to be brought to justice and said transit workers should be treated with respect.
The recent assault may be representative of an overall uptick in assaults on transit workers, especially bus drivers.
In February, the MTA highlighted a 35% increase spitting incidents in 2019 over the previous year, and as such, called for legislation to make the act punishable by up to a year behind bars. Spitting is currently only a finable offense.
Bus driver assaults had also risen by 10% as well, according to the MTA.