An accused bigot was arrested after going on an angry, racist, hate-filled rant inside Penn Station and threatening to stab an Asian man — who turned out to be an undercover NYPD officer with the Hate Crimes Task Force, police said.
The tirade occurred in the Long Island Rail Road terminal at the station Friday afternoon. Police said that Juvian Rodriguez approached the plainclothes detective as he was heading down an escalator at the station, spewing hate from the start.
The 35-year-old Rodriguez told the undercover officer, "Go back to China before you end up in the (expletive) graveyard," according to police. He then allegedly threatened to slap and stab the detective in the face — all totally unaware he was threatening a member of law enforcement.
Prosecutors brought charges of harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing and criminal possession of a control substance against Rodriguez at his arraignment Saturday. None of the charges in the criminal complaint were for hate crimes.
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A request for comment sent to his legal defense was not immediately returned.
Rodriguez has been arrested more than two dozen times since 2002, law enforcement sources tell NBC New York, a number of which were transit crimes, most recently in 2019.
The incident is all part of an upward trend in hate aimed at the AAPI community over the past year. According to the NYPD, there have been 39 reported hate crimes against Asians since Jan. 1. There were 11 less cases during the same period in 2020.
The detective who was the target of the tirade is part of an undercover team deployed by the NYPD in recent weeks to combat incidents of hate. The goal of the operation was to catch hate crime suspects in the act — and it seems to be working, as Rodriguez becomes the second person caught by the task force in a week's time.