Police say they're searching for a man accused of punching a teenager who accidentally bumped into him while roughhousing with friends on a city bus in Washington Heights last week.
The 16-year-old boy was apparently horsing around on the M101 bus at about 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday when he bumped into a seated passenger, the victim's family and police said.
The passenger, a man thought to be in his 40s, stood up and confronted the teen. Cellphone video shows him arguing with the teen, and police say he punched the boy in the face.
The teen, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC 4 New York 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 assault was not captured on video, though some sort of scuffle could be heard.
"He hit me on my left cheek," said the teen. "I hit him back, and my friend pushed him on the floor."
The teen got off at the next stop, near Amsterdam Avenue and 157th Street, while his alleged attacker stayed on.
The victim's parents took him to the hospital later that evening. They say he needed surgery to wire his jaw shut.
"You're not supposed to do that to a 16-year-old," said the boy's father, who also expressed anger at the bus driver who he says didn't stop the bus or call police.
The MTA said it does not comment on active police investigations.
The man is being sought for felony assault, according to police.