Brooklyn man charged with hate crime in assault of trans woman on subway

September 7, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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A recent violent incident on the subway has ignited concerns over the safety and rights of the transgender community.

Ian Williams, a 22-year-old from Bedford-Stuyvesant, has been indicted and is facing charges of assault as a hate crime for allegedly attacking a transgender woman inside a subway station.

“Every person in our city deserves to safely use the subway, no matter their gender identity or expression,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez when he announced the indictment on Wednesday. “This defendant allegedly groped an innocent individual and then violently attacked her. We will continue to vigorously prosecute violent people and defend the rights of every member of Brooklyn’s LGBTQ community.”

Ian Williams, the accused from Bedford-Stuyvesant, faced arraignment Wednesday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The charges leveled against Williams are serious, including third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, forcible touching, and other related counts.

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The judge has set bail at $10,000 cash or a $50,000 bond, with Williams scheduled to return to court on November 1. If convicted of the top charge, he could face up to four years in prison.

The alleged incident took place on Aug. 17, 2023, around 1 p.m., as Williams and the 22-year-old victim awaited the J-train at the Myrtle Avenue Station in Bed-Stuy. It is alleged that Williams made a sexually suggestive gesture towards the victim before groping her. After the victim confronted Williams, he verbally abused her using a homophobic slur, investigations reveal.

According to court documents, the confrontation escalated on the Manhattan-bound J-train when the victim questioned Williams about his actions. In response, Williams allegedly assaulted the victim, throwing her to the ground and inflicting multiple injuries, including a broken nose. It was only thanks to the intervention of bystanders, who pulled Williams away, that the attack ceased. The assailant then proceeded to move to another train car.

Following the incident, the victim sought treatment at Lenox Hill Hospital for her injuries.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Samantha Perlstein, from the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau, is leading the prosecution. She will be assisted by Assistant District Attorney Shane Kaliszewski, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau. Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, the Hate Crimes Bureau Chief, supervises the case.

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