The man suspected of punching a teenager who bumped into him on a city bus last week in Washington Heights told reporters Tuesday that he stood up to defend himself after the 16-year-old cursed at him.
The man, in his 40s, was seen on phone video confronting the boy apparently horsing around on the M101 bus last Wednesday. The man can be seen arguing with the teen, and police say he punched the boy in the face.
The man, speaking in Spanish, said that the teen was cursing at him.
"He almost hurt me," the man said. "I told him to calm down because he was going to hurt me and if he hurts me I was going to give it back to him."
The teen told NBC 4 New York on Monday that the man told him in Spanish, "'If you hit me, I'm gonna knock you out.'"
The teen said he responded, "'Watch how you talk to me.'"
The alleged victim said his friend tried to hold the man back, but as chaos broke out in the cramped bus, the man, who was wearing several rings, managed to throw a punch. The alleged assault was not captured on video.
The teen needed surgery to wire his jaw shut after being hit, his parents said.