The man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat who was arrested for allegedly pushing an immigrant man onto the subway tracks in New York City in April was indicted with a hate crime.
Willie Ames, while wearing a hat and shirt with the phrase popularized by President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, made derogatory statements about Mexican Americans and got into a verbal argument with two men at the Union Square subway station.
According to the indictment, Ames dragged one of the men off the train by his clothing and struck him three times on the station platform. Ames then knocked the 26-year-old man onto the subway tracks.
The victim's friend was able to help him back onto the subway platform.
Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance announced Wednesday that Ames had been charged with attempted assault in the first and third degrees as hate crimes, assault in the second and third degrees as hate crimes, and aggravated harassment.
“This defendant’s attacks on two New Yorkers were attacks on all New Yorkers, as alleged in the indictment,” Vance said in a statement. “Willie Ames is charged with selectively ambushing two young men on their way home from work for no other reason than their perceived nationality."
Police said Ames fled the platform and got on another subway train heading to Brooklyn. He was later identified by surveillance video.
"Thank God there wasn’t a train coming — it would have been a sure death. I would have died if it wasn’t for him," the victim, identified by local media as Luis Lopez, told the New York Daily News of his friend. Lopez was transported to a local hospital and treated for a head injury.
"The First Amendment guarantees the rights of bigots to spew hateful, fearful, anti-immigrant rhetoric on television and Twitter," Vance added. "It does not authorize acts of violence against New Yorkers."