NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — A 19-year-old girl who told a 57-year-old woman that she "hates white people" before beating her aboard a Queens MTA bus last month has been charged with hate crimes and other crimes, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said Tuesday.
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Jahnaiya Williams, of Queens, was the last of the trio to be arrested on Monday. She was arraigned on charges of second- and third-degree assault as a hate crime, second- and third-degree assault, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, second-degree aggravated harassment and menacing.
"As alleged, the defendant, as well as two other apprehended individuals, carried out an unprovoked assault on a public transit rider simply because of the victim's race," Katz said in a statement on Tuesday. "I am committed to holding accountable those who perpetuate bias-motivated attacks on the residents of the most diverse country in the world. The defendant is now charged with assault as a hate crime and will be held to account for her alleged actions."
According to the victim and video surveillance footage, on July 9 around 6:30 p.m., Williams, who was holding a shopping bag, and the two females with her, allegedly approached the woman as she sat near the rear of the Q53 bus.
Williams allegedly looked directly at the woman and said, "I hate white people." The 19-year-old also said that she hates white people's skin, prosecutors said. As the bus passed a cemetery, Williams told the victim, "I am going to kill you, this is where I'm going to bury you."
Katz said Williams also allegedly removed a jar from her shopping bag and told the victim she would beat her with the object.
As the bus came to a stop near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, a 15-year-old girl and Williams spat on the victim.
Williams then allegedly hit the 57-year-old repeatedly in the head with the shopping bag containing the jar. The 19-year-old, along with at least one of the other suspects, allegedly punched the victim several times in her head, and the trio then fled the bus together.
The victim, identified by the New York Post as Jill LeCroix, was taken to a local Queens hospital for her injuries, which included a deep laceration on the right side of her head that required three staples.
LeCroix, a grandmother of five, told the Post after the attack that the suspects accused her of being a supporter of former President Donald Trump and that one told her that "she hates white people, the way they talk, hates white skin, the way their skin cracks."
Williams, who is due back in court on Friday, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Katz said the 15-year-old suspect is being prosecuted in family court, and the 16-year-old's case is next in court on Aug. 24.