Cops arrested a man who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat when he allegedly pushed a Mexican immigrant onto the subway tracks in a Manhattan station, officials said.
Cops say Willie Ames, 47, got into an argument with two men at the subway station on April 20, during which he allegedly made derogatory statements about Mexican Americans, according to a report from Buzzfeed News.
Ames screamed “You come here and you take our jobs! You bring drugs!” cops told the New York Daily News.
Ames allegedly punched the victim, identified as 24-year-old Mexican immigrant and construction worker Luis Lopez, in the head multiple times before pushing him onto the subway tracks. Lopez was helped off of the tracks by the friend he was traveling with — quick thinking that Lopez says may have saved his life.
“I fell head-first. My head hit the railing. I tried to get up, but lost consciousness. I couldn’t move. My friend jumped in to get me out. He saved my life,” Lopez told the Daily News. “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.”
Ames fled the scene but was arrested the following week after police identified him using surveillance footage taken at the platform.
Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance announced Ames’ charges on Wednesday: attempted assault in the first and third degrees as hate crimes, assault in the second and third degrees as hate crimes, and aggravated harassment in the second degree.
“This defendant’s attacks on two New Yorkers were attacks on all New Yorkers, as alleged in the indictment. Willie Ames is charged with selectively ambushing two young men on their way home from work for no other reason than their perceived nationality,” said the DA in a statement on Wednesday.
Vance added, “The First Amendment guarantees the rights of bigots to spew hateful, fearful, anti-immigrant rhetoric on television and Twitter. It does not authorize acts of violence against New Yorkers.”
Ames’ criminal history includes a 2008 arrest for throwing bleach at people in a deli, attempted robbery in 2011, and a 2015 incident during which police say Ames stabbed a man during a dice game, the Daily News reported. Charges related to the 2015 case were later dismissed and sealed.
Ames’ mother defended her son while speaking with the New York Daily News on April 26, saying he was attacked by four men who were upset that he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
She said the group of men approached him, and after he told one of them “Well, y’all living better than us,” they started “swinging so he swinged and he punched one. [He] hit the platform. When he tried to get up, he lost his balance.”
Ames’ mother told the Daily News that her son is not a Trump supporter, and she does not know why he was wearing the hat.
[Photo c/o NYPD]