MELROSE, Bronx (WABC) -- A man with more than 40 prior arrests who is accused of a brutally assaulted a subway cleaner in the Bronx was indicted by a grand jury Friday, while supporters of the victim gathered outside court to demand justice.
Alexander Wright is charged with assault and harassment, and the victim, Anthony Nelson, was there Friday, his arm in a sling, having recently been released from the hospital.
Nelson suffered a broken nose and a broken collarbone in the assault last Thursday, on what was supposed to be his day off, in the incident at the Pelham Bay Park station.
Authorities say a rider notified Nelson around 9 a.m. that a man was outside the station harassing others. Nelson walked outside to get a description of the suspect for police, but as he walked away, investigators say Wright punched Nelson in the face.
Despite being beaten and bruised, Nelson and another man held the assailant until police arrived.
Wright waived his court appearances Friday and also declined to testify before the grand jury, but outraged members of the Transport Workers Union rallied in support of their colleague.
"We are tired of seeing our members get assaulted daily for no good reason," TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said. "Prosecutors and judges must hold people accountable for their actions and ensure that transit workers can do their job safely."
The MTA is also calling for Wright to be banned from the transit system for three years.
MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber intends to send a letter to Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark requesting that upon conviction, a judge issue an order banning Wright from the transit system for three years, the maximum penalty available under the law.
"Attacks on transit workers are unacceptable, and we must do everything we can to prevent them and keep our customers and employees safe," Lieber said. "Given the horrific actions of Mr. Wright and his long history of arrests - some of which were for similarly violent attacks -- this penalty is warranted. Individuals who assault transit workers have no place on our subways, buses, and trains."
Last year, Wright was arrested for allegedly punching an Asian woman in Chinatown in a seemingly random attack, and authorities say he also threw hot coffee at two police officers and was involved in numerous other incidents of unprovoked violence.
He is due back in court on September 6.
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