Dispute Over Dime Leads To MTA Employee Arrested For Allegedly Punching Bronx Straphanger

Victim Tells CBS 2 She Was Also Lifted Up Off The Ground By The Neck

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City woman says she was attacked by a subway station attendant for taking too long to find cash.

Janet Ojeda admitted she exchanged words with the woman in the token booth on Thursday morning, but when the clerk allegedly came out and picked her up by the neck, choking her, well, even hours later, Ojeda got emotional talking about it when talking to CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“She came and she swung me against the gate and she picked me up with one hand and she was just looking straight into my eyes … like… I started seeing a blur. And I’m trying to get air. And she could hear me, but she didn’t let go,” Ojeda said.

“It was scary. All I was thinking was if I was going to see my family again.”

Ojeda showed CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman the bruises she claims were the result of the alleged assault. Police and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the station agent inside the booth at the 138th Street station in the Bronx as Phylathia Monroe, 45. The MTA said she has nearly 20 years on the job.

The confrontation began at around 5:30 a.m. Ojeda was going to work and was, she said, 10 cents short on a MetroCard when Monroe called for the next customer through. Ojeda said she found the dime, but that’s when the argument began. She claimed Monroe got out of the booth, put her finger in her face and punched her.

“I told her to let me go, and I was like … you’re gonna get arrested right now,” Ojeda said. “As soon as that fist hit my face I felt my face swell up.”

Ojeda said she eventually got free and then went from the station to a local NYPD precinct and filed a report.

Four officers went into the station and arrested Monroe on a misdemeanor assault charge. Ojeda hired attorney Justin Blitz.

“We intend to look at all the legal remedies on her behalf, and we’re confident we will be successful,” Blitz said.

“I want justice. And she didn’t just assault me, she tried to kill me,” Ojeda added

The MTA suspended Monroe pending an investigation. If convicted on the assault charge, Monroe could face a year behind bars. CBS 2 tried to contact Monroe Thursday night, but her family said she was not home.

Ojeda said she plans to take a few days off from work to recover and she said she plans to sue the MTA.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • Kevin Jackowski

    no matter what happened. the minute the agent came out of there booth they became wrong also. We all have problems and issues we deal with on a daily basis. noone has the right to take there crappy day out on anybody let alone put there hands on someone.. That person should be fired. its clear they cant handle dealing with customers anymore. i can go on forever about customers from hell. when you have a job dealing wiht people on a daily basis you have to expect your gonna have a few that are complete assholes. Why would you let that person rent space in your head let alone now that person may lose there job as well as go to jail all because the booth agent allowed someone to anger them. words are just that words. what riight does that give them to put there hands n someone. i hope they send the agent to jail for the maximum. maybe theyll get beat up in there and know what it feels like to have someone to put there hands on them…. imagine how many people would be beat up if we all went around hitting people that disrespected us every day….. good idea. lets all punch people in the face whenever they dis us… everyone for this… lol….

  • Janet Ojeda

    I have the breath of a, how you say, chiuaha

  • nana

    she should be fired had no right to hit another person she was not being attack, and yes most of us have jobs that deal with the public but if you do not have patience than you need to work in the tunnels or a zoo strictly taking care of the animals, sure scare to ask her for directions, needs anger management therapy after she gets fire.

  • Robert Moses

    ALL public transportation should be BANNED. If you want to go anywhere, then be a REAL American and DRIVE.

  • mstew

    Don’t know the whole story but I can tell you the token booth people are the Worst

    ask a question – they might answer – and if they do they won’t look up & make eye contact – but they will act like they’re doing you a favor. If I hit someone on the job I’d be arrested on the spot – no doubt she’ll get off w/no time in jail; which is a pity because she is an Animal!

    • Norbert G. Ginsel

      I appreciate your perspective on this incident. OTOH, and FWIW, I guess these toll collectors don’t feel that they’re on some great career path, and maybe, to the most of them, they don’t care. Some probably think they should have been hired at the equivalent of a GS-14 level. Even Ed Norton (sewer worker) had his bad days, but if you don’t have the patience to deal with the public you’re in the wrong job. You DON’T attack the customer. Period. The only public servants to get to beat up the customers are the cops.

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