A male rider threw hot coffee at a female MTA bus driver and pushed her to the ground after she asked him to wear a mask amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to police.
The alleged assault against the bus operator took place at 8:19 a.m. Thursday onboard an S46 bus at Castleton Avenue and Jewett Avenue in Port Richmond, officials said.
The driver asked the suspect to put his mask on when he stepped onto the bus. The rider allegedly ignored her request and headed toward the back of the bus, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.
The driver approached the suspect and he allegedly threw a hot cup of coffee at her face, causing pain, bruising and swelling to her face, neck and chest, the police spokeswoman said.
The suspect then allegedly pushed the driver to the ground, injuring her right knee.
The driver was taken by EMS to Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze.
The bus, carrying about 20 people, was taken out of service.
Officers arrested Alexander Lopez, 20, of the 900 block of Forest Avenue in West Brighton, a short time later, at about 8:49 a.m., and charged him with assault, the police spokeswoman said.
“Assaulting a bus operator, a public servant who is courageously keeping our city moving during this pandemic, is appalling, reprehensible and completely out of line with New York values,” said a statement from Craig Cipriano, president of the MTA Bus Co. and senior vice president for buses, MTA NYC Transit. “The perpetrator should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The suspect has been released under supervision and is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court on Jan. 8, according to public records.
An attorney for the suspect did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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