In Washington Heights, Manhattan, a 15-year-old boy who has special needs was beaten up Friday during the 5:30 rush hour commute. The young man, who has high-functioning autism, is at home recovering from his injuries.
Video footage of the incident surfaced on social media and showed a teen girl dragging the boy by his sweater on a train while other teens followed, taunting the youth, shouting slurs, and cursing at him. The girl pulling him can be seen yelling in his face while people in the background just watch and film the incident yet make no effort to help the young man. Someone in the crowd simply yells, “fight back,” as the teen is punched by three individuals at the same time.
His mother has refused to watch the footage of her son being beaten up. “I refuse to watch that video. Nobody wants to see their kid being assaulted,” she said. She knew her son had gone out for the evening but was surprised to receive a call from the police department Friday evening. She said she has learned from the experience and is advising others to keep a close eye on their children as well,
“Keep a close eye on them. Because a lot of trouble could have been avoided had I done that,” she said. The victim’s mother has also opted to stay anonymous, fearing for the safety of herself and her son. She noted that although her son had to have stitches, she is more concerned about the mental harm done to him from the attack. She also said her son does not know why he was attacked or the teens that attacked him.
Police can be seen arriving to question the victim and bystanders following the incident.
Police are searching for the two females and one male who can be seen in the footage, and the NYPD Hate Crimes is also looking into the attack due to the anti-Black slurs shouted by the perpetrators.
New York City Transit President Richard Davey made a statement following the heartbreaking incident,
“Our hearts are with the young man seemingly being senselessly victimized. No one should be subject to this sort of hateful harassment while they are riding with New York City Transit, and the MTA is fully cooperating with the NYPD in its investigation into the incident.”
The NYPD posted a photo of the attackers on Facebook and is asking for anyone with information on the 3 assailants to call the crime stoppers hotline.