Being a racist is ignorant and costly.
The Queens, N.Y., district attorney on Wednesday charged Edward Ruggiero, who was caught on video hurling racist insults at a Black woman on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), with a hate crime.
Ruggiero, of Long Beach, N.Y., was charged with third degree menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated harassment for the verbal assault. He unleashed a racist tirade against a Black woman who was riding the train with him last month between Forest Hills and Jamaica stations.
“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,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement.
Passengers said Ruggiero ranted for about 10 minutes, spewing racist and sexist slurs directed at 25-year-old Soraya Orelien, calling her the N-word and a monkey, among other profanity-filled insults.
According to the district attorney’s office, he allegedly “approached and raised his hand toward her and stated ‘I’ll smack the [expletive] out of you, you loud mouth monkey [expletive].”
“It is further alleged that defendant Ruggiero continued screaming at the complainant calling her a ‘Black monkey’ and that she should ‘Get off at Jamaica. Get off in the ghetto’ and then began to imitate the sounds monkeys make,” the office also stated.
Aneesa Janat Rafeek, a passenger, filmed the incident and posted the video on social media. It went viral.
“An African American woman was behind him speaking on the phone (not loudly in my opinion as I was sitting only diagonally from him and could not hear her),” Rafeek wrote on Facebook.
“He started off by mumbling under his breath and then escalated to yelling at her about being a loud mouth b**ch. When another young woman, also Black, stood up for her, he continued to yell and then call[ed] them monkeys.”
(WARNING: Contains offensive language)
“No one should be subjected to the vile words and intimidating actions the defendant is accused of tormenting the victim with,” Brown said. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
If convicted, Ruggiero could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.