Racially Motivated Attack at 71st Avenue Station sends Woodside Man to Prison
Queens District Attorney Richard A.Brown today announced that a 23-year-old Woodside, Queens, man has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty last month to second-degree assault as a hate crime for a senseless attack on an MTA employee in June 2018.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, at approximately 9:20 p.m. on June 18, 2018, the MTA train conductor, Keith Simon, spotted the defendant sleeping on the train as he did a walk through. The train was being parked at the 71 and Continental Avenue train station on Queens st Boulevard for the evening and the conductor woke the defendant and told him he had to exit the train. Kalam yelled, “N—, I am going to f– you up” and proceeded to push the victim toward a slowly approaching train. He punched the conductor in the face with his forearm and when Simon tried to restrain the defendant he was repeatedly punched in the stomach.
“This was a vicious, unprovoked attack on an MTA worker who was just doing his job. In addition to striking the victim several times, the defendant hurled a racial epithet and continued to hit the man in the face and mid-section. 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” said DA Brown.
The defendant has been identified as Meher Kalam, 23, of 65 Street in Woodside. On September 17, 2018, the defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree assault as a hate crime before Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Schwartz.
Yesterday, Justice Schwartz sentenced Kalam to three and a half years incarceration to be followed by three years post-release supervision.