Brutal attack of woman with her own cane caught on video by MTA transit worker

Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Station agent praised for making video of subway cane attack
After a brutal beating inside a subway station in Harlem last week, the MTA says the station agent who recorded the attack acted appropriately. N.J. Burkett has the story.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- After a brutal beating was caught on camera inside a subway station in Harlem last week, MTA officials say the station agent who recorded the attack acted appropriately.

Norton Blake, 43, was arrested Wednesday and is accused of brutally beating a 60-year-old woman with her cane.

Police say Blake got into an argument with the victim as he was helping her carry something up the steps.

Video shows Blake hit the woman dozens of times with a wooden cane and belt at the 116th Street station around 3:30 a.m. Friday.

The entire incident took place in full view of the station agent who was safely locked behind bulletproof glass.

MTA officials say the female employee who witnessed the attack did what she was trained to do -- she recorded it on her phone and called it into the MTA's rail control center, which then contacted police.

"That station agent did exactly what we want, collect evidence and bring professional law enforcement help to the scene," said MTA Chairman Janno Lieber.

Officers arrived and were met with a cross complaint situation: two people, both apparently homeless, making allegations against the other.

The victim was expected to recover but responding officers inexplicably released the suspect without charges.

However, Blake was arrested Wednesday morning on assault charges-five days after the beating.

Mayor Eric Adams said an internal affairs investigation is underway.

"There appears to be, preliminary, a cross complaint situation here and it's going to be fleshed out," Adams said. "IAB is examining actively what was the role of the police officers that responded as well as the supervisors that responded."

Agents are being trained in how to contend with crime underground-which has peaked and is trending lower. Conductors, train operators and station agents are expected not to stop crimes in-progress, but to call for help.

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