A man who put belligerent racism on full display on a New York City subway train found an L of a lot more than he bargained for on Saturday afternoon.
A man identfied as Paul Lawson began spouting racial slurs on a Brooklyn-bound L train as he held a can of Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, according to bystander video obtained by Gothamist.
Joshua Pyne, who witnessed the whole thing, told Gothamist that the incident began after there was a “spat about personal space” between Lawson and a group of black men who got off at the 1st Avenue stop. Pyne said Lawson didn’t appear to be “falling-down drunk,” but he was “clearly belligerent.”
“I talk shit because I know I can ’cause I’m a lawyer, I went to NYU Law!” Lawson shouts. “F— you!”
A straphanger is seen trying to keep Lawson at bay by blocking him against the door while other riders begin shouting back. Lawson then dances around the train singing, “First Amendment!” before dropping a few more racial slurs and “F— yous.”
A woman who is not seen in the footage urges Lawson to “say it again” before shouting, “This man is a racist!”
Lawson took a sip of his Lime-A-Rita as he’s blocked against the door again and another straphanger tries to reason with him. When he tries to get his bag, someone yells, “F— your bag, dude,” which makes Lawson more belligerent as he says, “You can’t take my property!”
When the train pulls into the Bedford Avenue stop, Lawson is pushed off the train by his fellow straphangers and stumbles backward until he falls onto the platform. When he tries to get back on the train to get his bag, someone shoves his face while another person throws a tub of orange-colored soup at his head.
Lawson falls again and riders in the doorway start kicking at him to keep him from boarding the train again. He takes off down the platform, yelling one more slur, to which someone said, “Get your hate speech out of here!”
“There was a good sense that social justice had been served,” Pyne said.
In a series of conflicting Facebook posts that have since been deleted, Lawson called the video of the L train incident “unfortunate” and that he’s “getting help.” He also said he “had my head broke open the next day,” Gothamist later reported.
Lawson then went on to say that he was “not that sorry,” that he was “making a point” by using the racial slurs and that he was a “race-baiter … not a racist.”
But the plot thickens: Several sources told Gothamist that Saturday’s incident was not Lawson’s first foray into inciting incidents. A May Twitter video shows him taunting a black man with slurs. The man eventually pushed Lawson off the train and punched him in the face amid applause from other riders.
“He thrives on confrontation,” a source said.
Lawson did not respond to a request for comment from Metro, but if you were wondering why he was drinking the Lime-A-Rita, “it was free bro,” he said in a Facebook post.