An 84-year-old man who was punched in the head by a fellow straphanger who yelled, “I hate white people” last week told the New York Daily News he doesn’t condemn his attacker.
“I’m not blaming him, I’m blaming the societies that put him in this situation,” John Stewart said Tuesday. “I think our society really has to get it together and ask real honest questions. There are a lot of hurting people out there.”
After boarding a J train at Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, on Aug. 23, Stewart was trying to hold both his cane and a pole when the cane fell onto the legs of a rider believed to be in his mid-20s.
When the train arrived at Woodhaven Boulevard, the man stood up, struck Stewart in the side of the head and yelled, “I hate white people, and I hope they burn in hell!”
Stewart exited the J train at Kosciuszko Street and called Peter Nicotra, his pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Woodhaven, who took him to the hospital, where he was treated for bruises and swelling.
Police sources told the Daily News that a 17-year-old witness called 911. She later told police that Stewart had boarded the train with a cane and rolling suitcase, and the suspect took the cane and threw it, allegedly unprovoked.
She said she picked up Stewart’s cane and gave it back to him, after which the suspect punched Stewart and another unidentified man.
Sources said that Stewart initially didn’t want to report the incident to police, but did so five days later after being urged by a friend who is a retired NYPD chief.
“If I was a betting man, I’d say this boy has never gone fishing with his father,” Stewart told the Daily News.