MTA board rep says subway victims should have been ‘alert’ to threats

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An MTA board member today appeared to blame the victims of some recent subway pushes, saying the straphangers should have been more aware of their surroundings at the time.

“An alert person would not have been subject to some of these things,” Andrew Albert told The Post on Tuesday

Albert, who represents the New York City Transit Riders Council on the MTA board, said he believes at least some recent shove victims were “standing likely close to the edge and were not paying attention to who was around them.”

He said other factors were also at play — and that both policing and mental health services must play a role.

“There were some people who just came out of nowhere and pushed people, like that poor woman who was pushed into a train that was passing her by,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that — anybody who pushes somebody in front of train is not in the right mind.”

Anthonia Egegbara, 29 arrested for shoving Lenny Javier, 42, of New Jersey onto oncoming train in Times Square subway station Monday morning 10/4/21.
Anthonia Egegbara was arrested for shoving Lenny Javier into an oncoming train in the Times Square subway station on Oct. 4, 2021.
Robert Miller

The non-voting board rep added that more cops should be stationed at turnstiles “because the people committing these crimes likely did not pay their fares,’’ so they could be stopped there.

New York City’s subways saw a handful of platform shoves in early October, including an Oct. 4 incident in which a 42-year-old woman was pushed into an arriving train at Times Square. Alleged assailant, Anthonia Egegbara, 29, is charged with attempted murder.

Lisa Daglian of the MTA’s Permanent Citizens’ Advisory Committee agreed with Albert that straphangers should be more aware in general of their surroundings and called for more visible police amid recent spike in high-dollar theft on trains.

“They’re always interesting characters who ride along with you and it behooves all of us as riders to make sure that we’re aware of our surroundings,” said Daglian. “We have to be aware of our surroundings at all times — and just be sure that we do our part as riders to protect ourselves, and to make ourselves as safe as possible.”

But angry straphangers approached by The Post did not take kindly to their advice.

Subway victim Lenny Javier, left, with her father Vidal Javier.
Subway attack victim Lenny Javier, left, suffered a broken nose and fractured chin.
Twitter

Raged one commuter straphanger from Queens, “More aware?! Watch the videos of women getting thrown in front of moving trains and say, ‘Yeah, they should have been paying more attention.’ It’s crazy people! 

“What these guys are really saying is, ‘Kick the problem to the next person,” said the rider, a security guard at a Manhattan clothing store, “‘Don’t let ‘em get you. Let ‘em get the next guy, the smaller, the weaker guy, the women, the children.’ Bullshit!”

“The reason why I take the train and don’t drive to certain places is because I am too tired,” said Mutiat Soyemi, 22, of East New York. “If I have a long train ride, like an hour train ride, you want me to sit there and be alert the whole train ride? No.”

“The cops are suppose to stop criminals and stop all these bad things from happening. You can’t really expect people to stay awake,” she added.

Ruth Adeyemi, 24, of Brooklyn, said police “really don’t be doing nothing but chilling.”

“I feel like we need more security and they should put a cop in each cart of the train and outside of the train stations,” Adeyemi said.

“Staying off your phone and staying alert is not going to stop a crime, it’s not going to stop a criminal. There’s honestly even so many crimes happening even when police are present because some people just don’t care,” said another rider — a 21 year-old from Brooklyn named Aminata, who declined to share her last name. She said she’d been attacked “a few times” on the subways.

“If you take the subway, your life is at risk every day because you don’t know who is getting on and what anyone is capable of doing a certain day,” she said. “Everyone should carry pepper spray, pocket knives, anything to protect yourself because it is a dangerous world we live in.”

Additional reporting by Kevin Sheehan

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