Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Wednesday that 58-year-old Edward Ruggiero of Long Beach has been charged with menacing as a hate crime.
"The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilized society -- especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation. No one should be subjected to the vile words and intimidating actions the defendant is accused of tormenting the victim with," Brown said in a statement. "Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice."
The incident happened around 10 p.m. on April 19 on the train from Jamaica to Valley Stream. Passengers say Ruggiero spewed hate for a full 10 minutes, hurling a combo of sexist and racist slurs directed at a fellow rider who was an African-American woman.
RELATED: Recipient of hate-filled LIRR rant speaks out
"There were people on the train that did try and get him to stop, and he just kept going and going and at one point he did get up and got in one of the girls' face," the passenger who caught the tirade on camera said earlier in May.
Some passengers were seen leaving the car while others tried to intervene.
"Apparently she was being too loud, I don't know, I personally didn't hear her," the passenger said. "He started calling her a b**** and then another young woman stuck up for her, and was like 'you don't speak to people like that' and then it kinda just escalated into being more racist."
Ruggiero is being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
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