Man who called black woman a 'loud-mouthed monkey' charged with hate crime

The accused's lawyer calls the language 'unacceptable' but does not believe the video shows a hate crime

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 24 May 2018 21:32
Commuter shouts racist comments at black women on train from Penn Station to Long Beach New York

A New York train passenger recorded using racist language towards a 25-year-old woman for her “talking too loud” has been charged with a hate crime and could face a year in jail if convicted.

Edward Ruggiero, 58, a Long Island resident, was filmed by another passenger on the Long Island Railroad yelling at the woman.

“Shut the f*** up, you f****** loud-mouthed monkey,” Mr Ruggiero is shown yelling in the clip at passenger Soraya Orelien.

“At least I got a f****** mother. Do you know who your mother is? You don’t know who your mother or your father is because you’re a f****** monkey, that’s why,” he appears to yell in the video.

The charges against Mr Ruggiero include third-degree menacing as a hate crime, and second-degree aggravated harassment.

If convicted, Mr Ruggiero could face up to a year in jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.

He is currently being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

“The bigotry and hatred the the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilised society — especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation,” Richard Brown, the Queens district attorney, said in a statement.

“No one should be subjected to the vile words and intimidating actions the defendant is accused of tormenting the victim with,” Mr Brown continued. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”

Mr Ruggiero's lawyer Joseph Donatelli, called Mr Ruggiero's language "unacceptable" but does not believe the video shows a hate crime.

“No question what he said was morally reprehensible, socially unacceptable, foul-mouthed, insulting,” Mr Donatelli told NBC New York. “I just don't know whether or not it rolls to the level of a crime. The one thing we have a right to be in this country is to be a jerk.”

“Of course he's sorry for what he says, he just, he lost it on the train,” Mr Donatelli said.

The attorney argues that the dispute was sparked by the woman's phone conversation on the train, not her race.

“I think he lost it when — again, I only have limited information — I saw when he was talking about her being a loudmouth, she says, 'Your mother is a loudmouth,'” Mr Donatelli said. “Again, it's no excuse. I'm not making excuses for his behaviour. My question is whether it rolls to a crime.”

Ms Orelien said the experience left her feeling “disgusting". He made me feel less than what I am,” she told ABC News in an interview. “He was so angry you saw the veins pop out of his neck”.

The incident occurred late last month on April 19. Ms Orelien says that she is scheduled to graduate from her school program May 30.

“I’m tired. I graduate My 30, I am [in] the last few weeks of school, finals are approaching. I’m tired,’ she said. “So when I come on the train, I am sitting down to relax until I get off at my stop”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in