Woodside man goes to prison for assaulting train conductor in Forest Hills hate crime

A platform at the 71-Continental Avenues subway station in Forest Hills
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A Woodside man is doing hard time after admitting to shouting racial slurs at, and then beating up a subway conductor in Forest Hills.

Meher Kalam, 23, of 65th Street pleaded guilty back in Sept. 17 to second-degree assault as a hate crime. On Oct. 1, Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Schwartz ordered him to serve 3 1/2 years behind bars, followed by three years of post-release supervision.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Kalam attacked an MTA train conductor at 9:20 p.m. on June 18 of this year at the 71-Continental Avenues subway station in Forest Hills. The conductor had spotted Kalam sleeping on an out-of-service train, woke him up and told him to leave.

After being awoken, law enforcement sources said, Kalam called the conductor the N-word and threatened to “f— you up.” Kalam then pushed the conductor on the platform in the direction of a slowly moving train pulling into the station, then struck him in the face with his forearm.

When the conductor tried to restrain Kalam, police noted, the attacker repeatedly punched him in the stomach. Kalam was later apprehended by police.

“This was a vicious, unprovoked attack on an MTA worker who was just doing his job,” Brown said in an Oct. 2 statement. “This kind of violence, especially motivated by hate and prejudice, will not be tolerated in Queens County. Our MTA workers interact with the public every day and do an outstanding job. They deserve courtesy and to be safe on the job. This defendant is going to jail as a result of his animus and this senseless act of violence.”

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