NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police have arrested the man caught on camera attacking an MTA subway cleaner on Saturday.
The NYPD says Mike Ortiz, a 45-year-old homeless man has been charged with 2nd degree assault for punching the MTA worker inside a Harlem subway station.
Ortiz was recorded by surveillance cameras at the 2/3 train station at 145th Street when got into an argument with a 59-year-old MTA cleaner.
After appearing to be leaving the station, Ortiz is seen turning back to strike the cleaner across the face.
The assault raises concerns for the transit workers union, which has been calling for more protection, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported on Monday.
“Public employees must be protected at work and these attacks must stop,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference in the city on Monday.
“I’ve seen the video. I was disgusted by it. It’s appalling,” NYC Transit Authority President Andy Byford said. “There are far too many attacks on transit workers. Again, decent people that are just doing their jobs.”
Sources told Cline-Thomas the suspect in the latest incident is emotionally disturbed. The transit worker was taken to the hospital with a cut to his face.
The MTA it’s reaching out to elected leaders to get stiffer penalties for offenders and even ban them from the transit system.