A man caught hurling a racist tirade at a black woman for 'talking too loudly' on the Long Island Rail Road in New York has now been charged with a hate crime.
According to the New York Post, 58-year-old Edward Ruggiero has now been charged with third degree menacing as a hate crime, and second degree aggravated harassment, which are punishable by $1,000 fine and up to one year behind bars.
Speaking in a statement about the charge, Queens DA Richard Brown said:
The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilised society – especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation.
Explaining the charge, he continued:
No one should be subjected to the vile words and intimidating actions the defendant is accused of tormenting the victim with. Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.
The original incident occurred on April 29 onboard a Long Beach-bound train from Penn Station, between 9:53 p.m. and 10:25 p.m, and was captured on video by witness Aneesa Janat Rafeek, and posted to Facebook, where it has had 121K views:
WARNING: Video contains graphic, offensive language:
Ruggerio started ranting at fellow passenger Soraya Orelian, an African-American woman heading home after a day studying at her Manhattan college, reportedly because she was speaking too loudly.
When another young black woman came to Orelian's defence, he launched into a vile racist rant:
Shut the f*** up, you f****** loudmouthed monkey motherf*****.
He then continued to hurl horrific racist slurs at the woman:
I can’t listen to your f***** black ass no more... You f****** loudmouthed bitch. .At least I got a f***** mother. Do you know who your mother is? You don’t know who your mother or your father is because you’re a f****** monkey, that’s why.
Ruggerio was arraigned in Queen's Criminal Court on May 23 and was released without bail.
When leaving the court, he was asked if he wanted to pass comment on the incident, and he snapped: "That wasn't even me."
The incident comes hot on the heels of a series of racist incidents in America, where black people have been penalised for doing normal day-to-day activities.
Last month, two black men were arrested in Starbucks in Philadelphia for sitting in the cafe without having bought anything, and in May a woman called the police on a black family for having a BBQ by a lake in Orlando.