The New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating a savage attack that took place Wednesday afternoon in Union Square, after witnesses say a man vowed to attack white people before assaulting multiple individuals and leaving one man brain dead.
The black suspect, Lashawn Marten, 31, was playing chess before randomly jumping up and declaring “I hate white people,” according to one witness.
Another eye-witness told WLNY-TV that Marten said “the next white person who walks by I’m going to f**k.”
Marten’s fists then started to fly, allegedly targeting random white individuals as they walked by.
“His fist went in and the man’s head bobbed and he hit the ground and you could hear his skull hitting the ground,” the unidentified witness added.
That man, Jeffrey Babbitt, 62, has now been declared clinically brain dead. In a video posted to video-sharing website Instagram (now deleted, but reposted to YouTube), Babbitt can be seen on the ground with blood flowing from his head.
WATCH: Video shows aftermath of attack (WARNING: Graphic content and images, which may offend some readers, are depicted)
James Hall-Collins, the man who shot the video, reportedly said the attack was “random” and happened for “no apparent reason.”
Two others were then attacked by Marten and suffered minor injuries before police arrived on the scene and took him into custody.
“He stood there and hit two more people and asked for the police to come,” witness Michael Benson said.
A local photographer tweeted images from the scene (Warning, they are graphic):
Police say because of the suspect’s alleged comments, they are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
“Obviously our Hate Crimes Task Force is involved in aspects of that case,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reportedly said.
Kelly confirmed that Marten was heard shouting racially charged messages before attacking the individuals.
The suspect “made statements to the effect that ‘I’m going to punch the first white man that I see,” Kelly reportedly said.
Babbitt remains at Bellevue Hospital, brain dead and in a coma. His 92-year-old mother, whom he was the primary caretaker of, is by her son’s side, according to WLNY-TV.
Watch a local news clip, courtesy of WLNY-TV:
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