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Crime

US attorney charges woman with subway hate crime murder

A woman accused of pushing a man in front of an oncoming New York subway train, causing his death, has been charged with "second degree murder as a hate crime." The suspect allegedly said she hated Muslims and Hindus.

The New York District Attorney for the borough of Queens, Richard Brown, said in a statement late Saturday that the woman's hatred of Muslims and Hindus motivated her to shove the man from the platform into the path of the oncoming train.

The prosecutors statement quoted the accused, 31-year-old Erika M., as telling police investigators: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers.”

Her admission was a reference the September 11, 2001 attacks by Muslim extremists on the World Trade Center towers.

Police released footage of the incident on Friday via Twitter in a bid to identify the perpetrator. The video showed the accused on the subway platform, muttering to herself before the incident, then running from the scene.

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter's worst nightmare, being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Brown's statement said.

"The victim was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant's actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society,” he added.

Brown did not divulge the victim's ethnicity or religion. Spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Meris Campbell, said she did not think the victim was wearing any clothing identifying him as a Muslim.

The accused faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the charge of “second-degree murder as a hate crime.”

The man's death is the second such fatality this month on what is one of the world's busiest commuter railway systems.

jlw /rc (Reuters, AP, AFP)

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle is bound by German law and the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.