Posted on November 17, 2021

Man Accused of Robbing and Pushing Asian Woman Onto Subway Tracks in Times Square Claims He Was Acting in Self-Defense

Gina Martinez, Daily Mail, November 14, 2021

The attorney for the man accused of robbing and pushing an Asian woman onto the subway tracks in New York City’s Times Square says he was acting in self-defense.

Carlos Ortiz, 32, was charged with assault after allegedly snatching the purse of a 36-year-old woman at the 42nd Street subway station on Friday afternoon and shoving her into the tracks.

Good Samaritans rescued the victim from the track and detained the Ortiz until police arrived to arrest him.

But during a court appearance on Saturday, Ortiz’s attorney, Francis White of Legal Aid, told the court that witnesses assumed without evidence that Ortiz was a ‘mugger’ or ‘snatcher,’ and relayed that to police and the media, the New York Post reported.

‘It seems the people have a very weak case,’ White said.

White claimed instead that Ortiz was a ‘victim’ who was actually acting in self-defense against the woman who attacked him, a claim Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Sudley said was supported by video evidence that appears to show the victim hitting Ortiz moments before he pushed her on the tracks.

‘There is a video of the complainant assaulting or attempting to assault the defendant in the moments preceding the defendant pushing the complainant onto the subway tracks,’ she said. ‘There is also an eyewitness that stated the complainant was striking the defendant prior to the push.’

A request for Ortiz to be freed on supervised release was denied by Judge Robert Rosenthal, who set his bail at $5,000 cash and $30,000 bond, the Post reported.

The incident came less than three days after a man was accosted by a group of teenagers, who slashed him in the face and stabbed him in the neck just steps away from Times Square.

The stabbing took place before dawn on Wednesday at the corner of West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.

The victim was taken to a hospital in stable condition. No arrests have been announced in connection with that case.

New York City continues to be in the throes of a massive crime surge, even as it welcomes back international tourists after the U.S. ended its 20-month COVID travel restrictions.

Visitors from 33 countries, including the UK, Russia and China, can now travel to the US provided they are fully vaccinated, a landmark moment in New York’s bid to recover economically from the pandemic.

About 8.5 million foreign tourists are expected to visit New York in 2022.

The latest data show that felony assaults went up 8.3 percent compared to the same time last year. Robberies have gone up 2.1 percent, and transit crime spiked nearly 14 percent during the same time period.

While murders dropped 2.4 percent and shootings decreased 1.3 per cent, overall crime is still up 1.73 percent from last year.