New York City police are looking for the group of men who are believed to have attacked at least four different people – slashing three of them – during a 12-minute violence spree on Friday morning in the Big Apple’s subway, as officials tell Fox News: “Enough is enough.”
The terrifying string of attacks highlights what city transportation officials are calling a need for more uniformed police officers in the subway system, despite how Mayor de Blasio has pushed the idea that the prevalence of crime will decrease with the increased presence of riders as coronavirus pandemic restrictions begin to lift.
The first of Friday’s incidents was reported around 4:25 a.m., when a 44-year-old man riding a southbound No. 4 train was approached by two men, one of whom slashed him in the face, police said. The victim got off the subway at Manhattan’s Union Square Station.
Enough is enough. The mayor is risking New York’s recovery every time he lets these incidents go by without meaningful action
But his attackers are believed to have stayed on board and carried out their next attack only minutes later, at approximately 4:34 a.m., when the two suspects allegedly approached a 40-year-old man and also slashed him in his face, police said. They then moved on to a second man – the third victim of the morning – whom they purportedly punched in the face, police said.
Both men exited the train in the area of Astor Place, according to police – an area known to be busy and full of college students.
The suspects then allegedly moved on to another 44-year-old man, who, around 4:37 a.m., was slashed in the back of the head, cops said. The victim described his attackers as two to three men.
The suspects then demanded money from the man before taking his phone and throwing it on the train tracks, police said. He got off the train at the Brooklyn Bridge Station.
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Police said all victims were taken to area hospitals for treatment and are expected to survive.
Investigators are still looking for the suspects, whom victims described as being two to three men, one with dreadlocks, police said.
Another person went to police in the Bronx around 5 a.m. to report that he was also confronted by three men who stabbed him in the eye and slashed him in the neck and back, according to NBC 4 New York. Police could not confirm this report when contacted by Fox News, and it is not clear if the incident is related to the earlier attacks.
In a statement provided to Fox News on Friday morning, New York City Transit Authority interim President Sarah Feinberg called all five incidents “very serious.”
“All seemingly could have been prevented by a uniformed presence on each of these platforms. The responsibility for these vicious attacks does not fall on an already strapped police department – it falls on City Hall and the individuals who are taking advantage of the mayor’s negligence on the issue,” Feinberg said. “If he needed a wake-up call, this is it. Enough is enough. The mayor is risking New York’s recovery every time he lets these incidents go by without meaningful action.”
When asked about New York City subway safety during a news conference on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he views crime in the subway system “as a major problem” and said he believed the solution was to deploy more police into the subways.
“It is irrefutable that there are serious crimes in the subway system. It is irrefutable that there are emotionally disturbed people in the subway system who can do violence and have done violence,” said the Democratic governor, an outspoken opponent of the Democratic mayor. “It is irrefutable that there has been a degradation of the situation in the stations.”
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Feinberg concurred with Cuomo’s statements at the time, adding her belief that there “are not very many people at this point who believe or suggest that this is not what’s needed at this moment.”
“The mayor has said he doesn’t think additional policing is necessary … Certainly, our leadership and certainly our customers who we hear from are saying they absolutely want a more significant police presence, a uniformed presence, and mental health resources,” Feinberg said. “And I think if you ride the system on a regular basis, if you’re in the system day and night like so many of us are, it’s not really up for debate.”
She noted that her office is often in contact with City Hall regarding the issue. In February, the NYPD announced it had deployed more than 600 additional officers into the subway system following a surge in violence in transit, on top of the 2,500 cops already assigned. De Blasio has said he has not pulled any of those officers from their roles in the subways.
Feinberg said de Blasio was “not necessarily in touch with our ridership” and added: “I just don’t think he has his finger on the pulse of our ridership right now and I think that I do.”
But during a segment on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” on Monday night, de Blasio pushed the idea that the city is “coming back, which everyone can see before their eyes.”
“And more and more people are taking the subways, which is a fact. And this is going to add up to something good,” he said.
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The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Mayor’s Office was launching a program that would match city employees who would be traveling to work on subways with “travel buddies” to commute with.
During the Monday NY1 segment, show host Errol Louis referenced the report and asked: “If everything is fine, why should people be buddying up?”
The mayor responded by saying his “travel buddy” proposal was in response to “a small number of employees, but I think an earnest group of employees, who were concerned because they happened to be Asian-American about some of the bias incidents.”
“Look, again, people are taking the subways. Let’s just talk to real New Yorkers. They’re taking the subways more and more because they want to get back to life in this city. And this city is defined by our subways,” de Blasio said. “And people are coming back and they’re going to make it safe because they’re coming back. It’s actually the presence of the people in addition to the police that make the subway safe for everyone.”