Local News for Brooklyn, by Brooklyn. Arts, Culture, Health and Innovation.
**This story was updated Tuesday at 11:50 p.m. to reflect new information
An arrest has been made after at least six women were violently attacked in Bushwick, five at Morgan Avenue L train station, over the last two months.
Khari Covington, 29, was arrested Tuesday allegedly linked to at least five subway assaults and a recent attack at smoke shop just streets away, law enforcement sources told New York Daily News. Covington has been charged with eight counts of assault as a hate crime, as well as one count of attempted robbery as a hate crime, NBC New York reports.
The first attack was reported by a 24-year-old woman who said an unknown man approached her at the station and punched her in the face, before fleeing, New York Post reports. On Dec. 11, another 24-year-old woman reported an almost identical crime.
On Dec. 26, a third woman reported being punched in the face by an unknown masked man at the station. Then on Dec. 28, a 32-year-old victim told police she stepped off the train and was walking towards the exit when a stranger punched her in the face, “causing a laceration, bruising and swelling,” NYPD said.
On Saturday, a fifth woman reported a similar attack at the station, telling police an unknown, masked man pushed her against a station wall and started punching her in the face. A sixth woman has also come forward on social media after being attacked.
On Dec. 30, police arrested and charged a 50-year-old man with one charge after he was identified by one of the victims. A senior NYPD official told NBC New York those charges had been voided and the man was arrested in error.
32-year-old Bianca Fortis, who was attacked at the station on Dec. 28, told New York Post she thought police were failing to keep women safe at the station.
“I was stunned that this had happened so many times. I didn’t see any police stationed there. There were no flyers,” Fortis said Monday. She said there should security at the station after the first attack, or at least fliers posted to alert women to the danger at the station.
An NYPD spokesman told New York Post the Morgan Ave. station had been a special post with extra officers since Nov. 29, and became a fixed post for officers after Fortis was attacked on Dec. 28.
The police have not said whether Watts suffers from cognitive or emotional issues, and Fortis said, although she was scared for her safety and that of other women, what Watts needed was help, not punishment.
“I do think he needs some kind of help, and I don’t think letting him roam freely to do it again almost immediately after being released is the solution,” she said. “I don’t want people to politicize my trauma. This isn’t about bail reform, it’s about finding better solutions to keep women safe.”