Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Union Square "White Man" Bias Attack Suspect Charged With Hate Crime

The suspect who threatened to "punch the first white man" he saw now faces life in prison, if convicted

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A suspect police say hit a 62-year-old man in Union Square after threatening to "punch the first white man" he saw has been indicted on the charge of manslaughter as a hate crime.

    The upgraded charge against 31-year-old Lashawn Martin was unsealed Tuesday, and the man faces life in prison if convicted. He was also ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam to see if he's fit to stand trial. 

    Marten, who is black, is accused of punching Jefferey Babbitt, a white man, after making the remark Sept. 4. Babbitt fell backward and hit his head in the attack and later died. 

    Marten told the Daily News in a jailhouse interview last month he's punched people of various races and doesn't target anyone.

    “I’ve punched white people. I’ve punched brown people. I’ve punched Hispanic people,” he told the News.

    Marten declined to discuss details of the alleged attack but asked to see an autopsy report and a death certificate.

    "You've got to know when to fold 'em and know when to hold 'em. I'm saving those details for trial," he said.

    A lawyer for Marten was not immediately available for comment.

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