A Long Island man who allegedly spewed racial epithets at a fellow commuter on board a Long Island Rail Road train in Queens last month now faces hate crime charges.
Edward Ruggiero, 58, of Long Beach appeared in a Queens Criminal Courtroom on Wednesday for arraignment on charges of menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated harassment.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Ruggiero lashed out at a 25-year-old woman on board an eastbound train between the Forest Hills and Jamaica stations on the night of April 19. A fellow train rider filmed the profanity-filled, racially-tinged tirade, and it quickly became a viral video, as shown on YouTube.
“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,” Brown said in a statement. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here, and when they do regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Between 9:53 and 10:25 p.m. on April 19, prosecutors said, Ruggerio approached a 25-year-old woman from Lynbrook seated nearby, whom he apparently believed was playing her radio too loudly.
Ruggerio allegedly raised his hand toward her and said, “I’ll smack the [expletive] out of you, you loud mouth monkey [expletive].” Law enforcement sources aid he allegedly continued screaming for several minutes, calling her a “black monkey” in the process.
At one point, according to the criminal complaint, he allegedly yelled at the woman, “Get off at Jamaica. Get off in the ghetto,” then imitated monkey sounds at her.
Ruggerio was arrested on May 23 following an investigation that the MTA Police Department conducted. At his arraignment, Ruggerio was released without bail but ordered to return to court on July 12. He faces up to a year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted.