White Man Charged with Hate Crime After Allegedly Assaulting a Black Met Guard with a Glass Bottle

A man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly smashing a bottle over a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but his lawyer believes his mental health should be taken into account.

Brandon Aebersold was charged with fourth-degree weapons possession in addition to the second-degree hate crime charge, which could land him in prison for anywhere from three-and-a-half years to 15. Prosecutor Philip Gary told the New York Daily News the case will be presented to a grand jury on Monday, March 13.

Aebersold approached a guard at the Met Friday, March 3, and told him a painting was crooked, according to police. When the guard didn’t respond “to [Aebersold’s] liking,” a police spokesperson said he used a glass bottle to hit him.

“Do your job, n—–!” Aebersold, 33, allegedly told the victim. The reported victim’s criminal complaint says he suffered “substantial pain and suffering” and had a cut on his head, which was treated at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Authorities arrested Abersold in Central Park Thursday, March 9, after a police officer recognized his face on surveillance footage released after the incident.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Josh Hanshaft ordered the assailant to be held without bond pending a psychiatric evaluation. Aebersold’s attorney, Thomas Kenniff, requested another test be conducted for his in-custody client at Bellevue Hospital, noting jail time doesn’t address mental health issues.

“Cases like this have less to do with criminality and a great deal more to do with the woefully deficient mental health laws in this country,” Kenniff said after the arraignment. “And, the inadequate resources devoted to helping those struggling with mental illness. It is time we start putting the same emphasis on rehabilitating those with mental health problems as we do with those in the grips of drugs and alcohol.”

Court documents and the New York City Department of Corrections show Aebersold was previously arrested on assault, attempted assault and burglary charges.

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