The homeless man who was arrested in Union Square last month after allegedly attacking three people in broad daylight—and fatally striking one—has now had his charges upgraded to hate crimes. Suspect Martin Redrick, a.k.a. Lashawn Marten, has been charged with manslaughter in the first- and second-degrees, assault, and attempted assault all as hate crimes, in the death of 62-year-old Jeffery Babbitt. He faces 25 years to life on the top count.
In court this week, it also came out that Redrick allegedly threatened cops as he was being arrested on September 4th: "Next white guy in uniform is going to be next. You're next too. It is a bulls**t assault three. I'll be out in thirty days," he allegedly said. "He said something about my momma and I punched him …You spelled my name wrong."
Redrick, who has a history of mental illness (including schizophrenia), was hanging out by the chess tables in the park last month when he became angry, possibly because no one wanted to play him; sources told us he jumped up and shouted, "I hate white people," then struck Babbitt. "He said 'The next white person who walks by, I'm going to [expletive],'" one female witness told WCBS.
Redrick's family previously said that he has had a complicated relationship with race. “Martin did not like authority and as we were growing up, the only people with authority were white people,” his brother Joseph Redrick told them. “A lot of times that problem with authority was transferred to white people.”
In a jailhouse interview, Redrick maintained that there was no racial component to the incident: “I’ve punched white people. I’ve punched brown people. I’ve punched Hispanic people. So what? I don’t target anyone.”
Redrick will undergo a psychiatric fitness exam to determine if he's fit to stand trial.