At least half a dozen women have been physically attacked at the Bushwick’s Morgan Avenue L train station since November 2020.
The first reported attack took place on November 17, when a 24-year-old woman, Elizabeth Wakefield, was approached by an unknown man on the stairs inside the MTA transit station. The attacker punched the victim in the face multiple times, and fled the station, the NYPD confirmed with BKLYNR.
“He was coming down behind me, and he must have — from the angle and from what I’ve gathered — kicked me in the side of the face and head from behind,” Wakefield told NBC New York. “My immediate thought after it happened to me was, I really hope this doesn’t happen again to somebody else.”
Several similar attacks followed, including an incident on December 11th, during which a different 24-year-old woman was punched by a strange man. Two more attacks , on December 26 and December 28, left two more women with physical injuries.
The victim on December 28th, a woman named Bianca, posted photos of her injuries on Twitter.
Bianca also posted a warning on Instagram encouraging other women to stay safe while taking public transit, particularly in Brooklyn where she was attacked.
Still, more attacks followed. Another victim, 26-year-old Manal Guennad. said she was aware of the attacker before she was assaulted on 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 2. “My first though was oh my God it’s him,” Guennad told ABC 7. “He didn’t say a word, just started punching me, like randomly beating me up. All I was thinking was, ‘Scream. Someone has to hear you. Someone must be around. Like, just scream as loud as you can.'”
The NYPD connected the first four assaults to 50-year-old Benny Watts, who was arrested with four accounts of Assault in the third degree, which is the lowest tier of assault charges. The suspect was released without bail. His next court date is on February 2, 2021, according to Oren Yaniv, Director of Communications at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.