A Brooklyn man has been indicted on hate crime charges for allegedly attacking two men in the Union Square subway station while yelling derogatory remarks about Mexican-Americans. Prosecutors say Willie Ames, 47, shoved victim Luis Lopez onto the L train tracks on April 20th after shouting, "F---ing Mexicans. You people are dirty. You people are nasty!"
Ames was wearing a red hat emblazoned with President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." His T-shirt also had the slogan printed on it, according to investigators.
Police say Ames was arguing with Luis Lopez, 24, and his friend, while on a 4 train, around 8:40 p.m. that night. Ames allegedly made "multiple derogatory statements regarding the victim's ethnicity" and followed Lopez onto the platform when he left the train at Union Square. During the altercation, Ames allegedly punched Lopez in the head multiple times.
Ames allegedly followed Lopez to the L train platform and shoved him onto the Brooklyn-bound tracks before fleeing. Lopez was rescued by his friend and another person on the platform, receiving treatment for a laceration to the head at a nearby hospital.
Lopez's brother told reporters, "My brother is OK, thanks to God," adding, "I know it was a hate crime. I don't know why he did it. He told my brother we came here to steal jobs from Americans."
The friend who had been with Lopez claimed that Ames said, "'F------ Mexicans, you are taking our jobs and you guys are bringing drugs and crime to this country."
Ames was charged with attempted assault and assault as hate crimes and aggravated harassment. At a court hearing after his arrest on April 26th, his lawyer said, "Mr. Ames maintains that he was not an instigator of this incident."
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance in a statement yesterday, "The First Amendment guarantees the rights of bigots to spew hateful, fearful, anti-immigrant rhetoric on television and Twitter. It does not authorize acts of violence against New Yorkers... This defendant’s attacks on two New Yorkers were attacks on all New Yorkers, as alleged in the indictment.
"If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, you can always report it to my office’s Hate Crimes Unit, regardless of your immigration status, at (212) 335-3100."