A Long Beach man was charged with menacing as a hate crime for verbally attacking a fellow Long Island Rail Road passenger last month, whom he threatened to physically assault, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Edward Ruggiero, 58, of E. Penn St., allegedly approached a 25-year-old Lynbrook woman on April 19 between the Forest Hills and Jamaica stations, raised his hand toward her and said, “I’ll smack the [expletive] out of you, you loud mouth monkey [expletive].”
Ruggiero is being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a complaint charging him with third-degree menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated harassment. If convicted, Ruggiero could face up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, Brown said.
“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,” Brown said in a statement. “No one should be subjected to the vile words and intimidating actions the defendant is accused of tormenting the victim with. Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Authorities said Ruggiero allegedly continued screaming at the woman, imitated the sounds of a monkey and said she should “get off at Jamaica. Get off in the ghetto.”
A video of the man screaming went viral earlier this month after it was posted on social media. Ruggiero was taken into custody after Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police conducted an investigation.
Ruggiero's attorney, Joseph Donatelli, did not immediately return a request for comment.