A white investment banker was arrested for assaulting a New York City subway worker while she was on duty last week.
The New York Police Department charged Jean-Francois Coste, a 53-year-old equity analyst with the Tocqueville Asset Management on Dec. 16 with assault, harassment, and menace after he attacked Tanya McCray, a 56-year-old MTA train operator, The Gothamist reports.
The incident is one of three assaults against MTA workers in the past week. Police say an MTA employee was attacked with a hammer early Tuesday morning at a subway station in Manhattan.
The woman, on Friday, fought back in self-defense during the late-night attack, using everything she had on her person, including a thermos.
The police say shortly after midnight, Coste attempted to push himself inside the Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue subway station’s crew room to use the bathroom.
McCray, who was on duty and had been working for 21 years with MTA, told the man he could not come into the area because it was employee-only. Coste reportedly became offended and punched the Black woman multiple times in the face.
A transit workers union representative told The Gothamist the woman “got in a few licks in herself, punching Coste in self-defense and swinging her lunch bag, which contained a thermos,” leaving her attacker with scratches and a black eye.
Still, as a result of the incident, McCray was hospitalized and treated for several bruises.
“I didn’t see him punch me. I didn’t see the punch. It happened so fast,” McCray said of the incident.
After the assault, Coste tried to escape into an idling train, but transit workers cornered him, holding him until NYPD officers arrived to temporarily take him into custody. The man was released by law enforcement without bail later the same day after a brief arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court and instructions to stay away from McCray, according to Daily Mail.
A spokesperson for the Local 100 of the Transit Workers Union offered limited information about the Boerum Hill resident but said he attempted to trespass into a private area for the MTA and was “apparently intoxicated” when he attacked McCray.
“He was apparently drunk. She pushed the door, so it clicks and locks, and he punched her in the face at least twice,” the representative said.
NYC Transit Chief Operating Officer Craig Cipriano released a statement and noted the attack was not provoked.
“We have zero tolerance for attacks on transit workers, and two senseless assaults days apart on employees just trying to do their jobs for the public is outrageous,” Cipriano said. “We are grateful that the NYPD made immediate arrests in both cases at Coney Island and Times Square, and hope the injured workers have a speedy recovery.”
The other assault happened on Dec. 18 when a person struck a female MTA worker in the face. Then, as the person was being wrestled down by one of her male colleagues, the person kicked him in his leg.
On Sunday, Dec. 18, the allegedly drunken banker was suspended by his Manhattan investment firm, the New York Post reported.
“Mr. Coste has been suspended from the firm effective immediately,” the firm said in a statement about the employee, who has worked for them for 15 years. “Tocqueville Asset Management is completely intolerant of violent behavior and, pending further investigation, will take whatever action is necessary.”
While the company stated Coste was suspended, it did not clarify if the suspension was with pay or without pay. However, since the attack, it has scrubbed the Northeastern University alumnus’ name off of Tocqueville’s professional website.
Coste has made his two personal social media accounts, Instagram and Facebook, private.
Coste is due back in Brooklyn court on March 1. Should he be convicted of his charges, he faces up to seven years. McCray said she hopes “he gets jail time.”
“I hope justice is done,” she told the press.