EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- An on-duty subway conductor was punched in a random assault in Brooklyn, and police are hoping surveillance video will lead to an arrest.
It happened just before 4 a.m. on September 1 at the Grant Avenue A train station in East New York.
Authorities say the assailant punched the 33-year-old conductor, Mohammed Miah, in the face multiple times in an unprovoked attack.
Miah said the man looked no different from any other rider on the Queens bound train, but as the train pulled into the station and he opened the window to watch the platform, the man slugged him across the face -- not once, but twice.
"As soon as I was looking out, I felt, on the left side of my face, I got struck right by my jaw," he said. "And then after that, he tried to punch again, caught me right in my glasses and my mask."
Miah says the man had complained, bitterly insisting -- mistakenly -- that the train had skipped his stop.
What was particularly shocking, Miah said, was that the man did not initially appear to be mentally disturbed.
"The majority of them, sometimes, are just regular people," he said. "And you wouldn't think you would expect that from people being upset."
Assaults against transit workers as well as riders skyrocketed during the pandemic, and although overall crime is down in the system, felony assaults are still happening.
Police statistics show they are up 26% for the year and 32% in the past month.
"I believe we're averaging anywhere between 10 to 15 assaults in the subway department alone, just in our division," the TWU's Jesse Arguenta said. "We roughly average out probably between 10 to 15 every month."
The MTA said the incidents are reprehensible.
"Any attack on a transit worker is totally unacceptable," interim NYC Transit President Craig Cipriano said. "Our transit heroes have been moving New Yorkers throughout the pandemic and deserve appreciation, not to be assaulted by criminals."
The suspect fled the station, and Miah was taken to Brookdale Hospital for treatment.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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