A man who was mocked about his coat on a subway last weekend and walloped in the face with a high-heeled shoe in a wild brawl that ensued says he's "horrified" he had to hit a woman, but she gave him no choice.
Misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges against the coat-wearing man, Jorge Pena, were dropped after an investigators determined he acted in self-defense in the uptown F train brawl caught on cellphone camera. The train was headed to Washington Square around 5 a.m. Saturday.
The now viral video shows a woman taunting Pena about his style, then later calling him stupid and making fun of his speech. He trades verbal insults and the woman hits him in the face with a high-heeled shoe; then Pena slaps her -- hard. A full-blown brawl then erupts between the woman and a group she was with and Pena as the other riders in the car flee to opposite ends of the train for safety.
"She got smacked, and that echoed through the entire subway," David Ratliff, the man who shot the cellphone video, told NBC 4 New York earlier this week. "I heard it. Everybody on the train heard it. Everybody in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx heard it."
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Pena broke down crying thinking about how other women -- including his girlfriend, mother and baby daughter -- must perceive him.
The 25-year-old said he was bleeding profusely after being attacked with a 6-inch high-heeled shoe and had to defend himself. Otherwise, he says, he would never have hit a woman -- or anyone else.
"Believe me, if she don't touch me like that ... I'm never gonna put my hands on her. Never," Pena said.
Pena moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic to play minor league baseball for the Oakland A's. His pitching career was sidelined when he injured his leg in 2010. Now, he says, he's just trying to survive as an average working man who wants to support his family.
Pena says he's very strong and tall, and for that reason he never engages in violence because he's worried he could seriously hurt someone. He stands at 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 240 pounds, according to his minor league profile.
Though the charges against Pena have been dropped, three suspects still face charges in the altercation, including the woman seen on tape hitting Pena with the high-heeled shoe. She was charged with felony assault and disorderly conduct.
The other two suspects face disorderly conduct and misdemeanor assault charges.