Police arrested a suspect Wednesday for allegedly beating a 60-year-old disabled woman at a Manhattan subway station and initially released him after the heinous attack was captured on video, according to sources.
Norton Blake, 43, was apprehended by the NYPD Snatch Squad at around 6:30 a.m., about 6:30 a.m. short of Laurell Reynolds, 60, in Harlem, police sources said. It has been five days since the attack at the West 116th Street and Lenox Avenue station.
Blake has been arrested nine times before, including in 2017 on charges of assaulting a police officer on a Harlem train platform, according to authorities and sources.
The burly suspect allegedly beat Reynolds with a cane at around 3:30 a.m. Friday, while Reynolds used a walker to hamstring her head, abdomen, legs, arms, back and hands. She was beaten dozens of times, causing her to fall to the ground.
New York City Transit Commissioner Richard Davey said Tuesday that an MTA worker was filming the heinous two-minute ordeal when he called the city’s railroad control center, which Called 911 again.
Disturbing footage of the attack later went viral, and news emerged Tuesday that the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Division was investigating the response of officers who answered 911 calls.
Law enforcement sources said officers arrived, spoke with Reynolds and Blake, and eventually released the suspect after the pair’s accounts of what happened contradicted each other.
While responding officers did see the video, it’s unclear whether they watched it before or after letting Blake slide into the wind.
“They should arrest him!” Reynolds, who is disabled, needs a walker and is unable to work, told The Washington Post in a bedside interview Tuesday at Harlem Hospital, where she remains in medical condition. very bad.
Reynolds said she was hit so often that the cane shattered on her.
“I don’t deserve this. Not at all, not at all…I pray to God that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she added. “They need to keep that person off the street.”
Reynolds’ daughter Lashanne Reese, 41, also slammed police for failing to arrest Blake at the station and expressed regret that no one came to help her mother.
“He could do that to someone else’s mother or father because they didn’t lock him up,” Reese, of the Bronx, said Tuesday of the police’s actions.
“That man could have killed my mother … you guys did nothing. I have a problem with that,” she said of no one stepping in to help Reynolds.
“He needs help — no, he shouldn’t be on the street,” said Reese, who works in the crisis management system at the Bronx Community Justice Center, as she burst into tears. “He just attacked my mother and beat her with a cane. He doesn’t belong on the streets.”
On Tuesday, NYPD officials publicly identified Blake as a suspect in the attack, according to sources, who provided a false name to police when they arrived.
NYPD Transportation Chief Michael Kemper told reporters the assault stemmed from an argument between Reynolds and Blake as the victim walked up the steps of the subway station.
“We are looking for him and I am very confident that he will be arrested and charged for assaulting that woman soon,” Kemper said.
Reynolds told The Washington Post that the aggressive suspect yelled at her and asked her to move away.
“I was trying to get my walker up the steps and this man came down and he said, ‘Go away, bitch, get out of the way,'” she recalls.
“He literally started swearing at me,” she said. “Then he pushed me down, hit me with the cane, knocked me down … he took my walker and hit me.
“I was trying to get him to leave me because he was hitting me, he was hitting me with this cane, he was hitting me hard, everything,” she continued. “He hit me on the head, he hit me all over the body. There was nothing I could do.”
Blake’s previous arrests date back to 2002 and include drug possession, assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence and possession of stolen property, law enforcement sources said.
In 2017, he was sentenced to 45 days in prison after pleading guilty to one count of third-degree assault at the 135th Street subway station for shoving an officer who tried to put on handcuffs.