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Long Beach man charged in LIRR hate crime: DA

Charles Ruggerio, on the porch of his Long Beach home, is charged with harrassing and threatening a woman on the LIRR in Queens because she was black.
Photo by Ellis Kaplan
By Naeisha Rose

FOREST HILLS — Edward Ruggiero, 58, a resident of Long Beach was charged last week with menacing as a hate crime for allegedly threatening to physically assault and verbally attacking a woman for over half an hour on the Long Island Rail Road April 19, the Queens DA said.

More than a month ago between the Forest Hills and Jamaica stations of the LIRR, Ruggiero approached a 25-year-old woman and allegedly raised his hand towards her while calling her a “black monkey” and allegedly said he would hit her if she did not “get off at Jamaica… in the ghetto,” according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

After screaming at the victim, he allegedly started to imitate the sounds of a monkey, according to the criminal complaint filed by the DA.

“The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilized society – especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “No one should be subjected to the vile words and intimidating actions the defendant is accused of tormenting the victim with.”

Ruggiero was charged with third-degree menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated harassment, and if convicted he would receive a $1,000 fine and face up to a year in jail, according to the DA’s office.

Detectives Kevin Blondel and Rhiannon McDermott handled the case under the supervision of Detective Sergeant Peter Cummo of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department.

“Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice,” said Brown.

— Naeisha Rose

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