A man was convicted of assault as a hate crime for an attack last year at the Union Square subway station, where he yelled "F---ing Mexicans. You people are dirty. You people are nasty!" while shoving a man into the trackbed.
On April 20th, two friends, Alan Lopez and Luis Lopez, were on a 4 train when Willie Ames made "multiple derogatory statements regarding the victims' ethnicity," according to police. Prosecutors say Ames dragged Alan Lopez onto the subway platform and punched him in the head repeatedly, before hitting Luis Lopez and shoving him onto the tracks. Alan Lopez managed to lift his friend off from the tracks with the help of a good Samaritan.
Ames, who was arrested on April 26th by U.S. Marshals, was found guilty of assault in the second and third degree as a hate crime and second degree aggravated harassment. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12th. He was once convicted of murder in Virginia, which, the Daily News explains, means "he faces up to 15 years on the top count."
As for the "Make America Great Again" hat that he wore during the incident, Ames claimed he was not a Trump supporter, "I just wanted to see how people (were) gonna respond to it." But Luis Lopez testified that Ames said, "You come here and you take our jobs! You bring drugs!"
Outside court yesterday, Ames's defense lawyer Glenn Hardy told reporters, "This was an unfortunate situation that did not rise to the level of a hate crime. Mr. Ames has full faith in the justice system and will be appealing the matter."
"This defendant's crime was more than a violation of our laws—it was a violation of our New York values," said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance in a statement. "As a jury has now determined, Willie Ames targeted two New Yorkers on the basis of their heritage in a vicious assault fueled by hatred and prejudice. Now, he will be held accountable for this unprovoked and potentially deadly hate crime assault."
Vance added, "I would like to commend the victims and witnesses for their bravery in coming forward and for their cooperation in bringing this defendant to justice. If you’ve been a victim of a hate crime, you can report it to my office’s Hate Crimes hotline, regardless of your language or immigration status, by calling (212) 335-3100."