VIDEO: Racist attack in Flatbush keeps community cautious
Last Friday evening when Ann Marie Washington, a black woman from Trinidad, stepped out of the train and headed up the steps at the B/Q Church Avenue station in Flatbush, a man that she later described as a “young white male in his late 30s [or] early 40s,” punched her in the face, chest, stomach and back, while yelling “black bitch.”
Another woman at the station approached the attacker as he fled onto the Q train, then the witness alerted an MTA employee and asked to stop the train while Washington waited on the subway platform in shock and with a split lip.
The police were called, but the train wasn’t stopped.
It wasn’t until the next day that Washington, a 57-year-old home health aide, woke up and saw blood in her bed that she realized she had been stabbed in her back. Washington had to have a chest tube inserted on Sunday due to a collapsed lung caused by the stabbing, and she remains hospitalized while recovering.
“We basically want justice for our mother. She should not have to be attacked, she’s a hard-working woman coming home from work Friday evening and [was] brutally attacked and assaulted,” said the victim’s daughter Tisha Washington. “We want this guy caught and off the streets.”
Community leaders gathered on Monday to call for justice for Washington, alleging that there was a slow approach to help the victim and apprehend the attacker because the city authorities didn’t stop the train when the attacker fled. NYPD did not release a sketch of the suspect for four days after the incident.
“There should be a faster response from the MTA or NYPD when this happens, when the victim is telling you what’s going on and witnesses, we need to listen,” said Monique Waterman, director of the nonprofit East Flatbush Village Inc. and the organizer of the gathering.
Waterman, 37, who has lived in East Flatbush for over 30 years, said she’s disappointed “there wasn’t attention really brought to the situation like it should be from the beginning, especially to be a hate crime.”
NYPD told the Brooklyn Eagle that detectives from the Hate Crime Task Force were working with Washington to review video and identify an image of the suspect. Meanwhile, Tuesday morning, police released the suspect’s sketch.
“This is a mother who was assaulted for no other reason, but based on what we heard, because of her ethnicity,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “This must be immediately investigated as a hate crime. It cannot be investigated merely as some form of assault, and this person needs to be charged with attempted homicide because he stabbed her in her back.”
Adams added, “hatred that’s coming from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., has found its way on[to] Washington Avenue and Church Avenue, here in the heart of Brooklyn. We are not going to allow that to happen.”
Iris Reyes, 54, who has lived in the neighborhood for over 25 years, said she fears anyone could be targeted.
“It seems like he picked her at random,” Reyes said. “I can’t imagine that he chose her for a particular reason besides the color of her skin, and in this neighborhood, almost everyone is the same color of skin, so it had to be random.”
Reyes said she never had the sense of being cautious, even when she is in the train station late at night, but now she feels differently.