A man who allegedly said “I hate white people” or words to that effect randomly punched a passerby in the face at New York City’s Union Square.
The victim of this unprovoked attack had now been declared clinically brain dead.
Another witness to the incident claimed that the alleged assailant, who was playing chess, abruptly announced that he was going to attack the next white person that came by.
The victim, Jeffrey Babbitt, 62, a retired train conductor, lapsed into a coma when his head hit the ground after he was blindsided and knocked backward. He was taken to Bellevue Hospitable but according to a prosecutor, “The prognosis is not good and it does appear that the victim will likely die.”
CBS News reports that “Babbitt was minding his own business as he walked through the crowd near the chess boards in Union Square when a man made a hateful announcement and began his rampage, witnesses said.” To make this crime even more horrific, Babbitt — a Brooklyn resident — is the primary caregiver for his 92-year-old mother who reportedly has Alzheimer’s disease.
The suspect has been identified in multiple media accounts as Lashawn Marten, 31, who was taken into custody at the scene. Martin allegedly attacked two other men after his assault on Babbitt. “Marten, who is apparently homeless, was watching people play chess in the park and reportedly complained that nobody wanted to play chess with him prior to the attack,” according to WIBW.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced that the incident that occurred on Wednesday afternoon but is only now receiving significant media coverage is being investigated as a possible hate crime by the department’s Hate Crimes Task Force. Marten is currently charged with felony assault and is being held on a $1 million bond.