When 29-year old Jason Fordell was traveling home from Lower Manhattan in the wee hours of Sunday morning, he didn't expect to be brutally mugged and robbed. But the young man who sells hand-designed leather accessories at local night clubs says that's exactly what happened while riding the subway. Police confirm that part of his story. But what's still in question is why he was attacked. According to Fordell, it was because he was white.
"Everyone on the train was egging them on," Fordell told the New York Daily News regarding his ride home to the Bronx.
"People started saying stupid little comments - cracker this, white boy this, f----t this," Fordell said. "I told them the only reason they were saying this is there was four of them and one of me."
The Daily News describes the attack:
As the train continued into the Bronx, the confrontation became physical, he said.
"I was in a headlock, punched and kicked on the floor," Fordell said.
Then a passenger decided to join in - declaring, "Oh, I get a few shots, too," before kicking and punching Fordell in the head, according to cops.
When Fordell finally left the train at his Fordham Road stop, his original attackers snatched his bag and ran. Inside was $2,900 worth of merchandise, cops said.
Fordell tried to chase the men once off the train, but was beaten again. By the time cops arrived, the attackers were gone. However, authorities did nab a fifth man who participated in the beating but stayed on the train.
So far, that man has only been charged with felony gang assault and robbery, but no hate crime. The Daily News says the case has not been turned over to the hate crimes unit because the NYPD has not yet determined if race was the main reason behind the assault.
"They have to look at whether that was the motivation before the robbery," a police source told the Daily News.
As for Fordell, the motivation seems clear. And his injuries are a reminder:
"I had a whole lot of bleeding from my skull," he told the Daily News. "My eye is swollen five different colors. There was blood in my urine. I have a footprint on my back and on the back of my neck."