An African American hair stylist riding the New York subway was reportedly slashed by another passenger in an alleged hate crime Monday afternoon. Police sources said the woman allegedly made a number of racial remarks before attacking the man.
The victim, Ijan Jarrett, was reportedly heading to his home in The Bronx from his job in New Jersey when two women boarded the train, he told The New York Post. When the women entered the train and stood by him, Jarrett reportedly offered one of them a seat. "The heavy-set girl was standing over me. I asked her, ‘Would you like to sit next to your friend?’ She said, ‘Oh no, no. I’m good,'" Jarrett recalled. After declining his offer, the woman, later identified as Stephanie Pazmino, reportedly turned to the other woman, stating, "I don’t want to sit next to a black person," sources said. Jarrett also remembered hearing the word "Negro," according to The Post.
In an attempt to avoid confrontation, Jarrett got up from his seat and told Pazmino, "okay, you don’t have to sit next to me." But as the train arrived at 125th Street in Harlem, the woman reportedly walked up to Jarrett and "punched me on top of my head." Jarrett didn't even know he was being stabbed, until a good Samaritan called out the attacker. Luckily, the anonymous Samaritan positioned his body between Jarrett and Pazmino, but he was already covered in injuries. "She stabbed me right under my left eye, on the back of my hand and on my left arm. She was screaming and hollering the whole time," he remembered. "I don’t know why she did it, because I didn’t do anything to provoke her."
Jarrett reportedly received nearly 100 stitches following the subway attack, authorities confirmed. Pazmino was taken into custody at the scene, and appeared in court earlier on Tuesday. Despite Jarrett's reports, Elsie Chandler, Pazmino's attorney, told a Manhattan Criminal Court judge that his client was acting in "self-defense" after Jarrett allegedly "tried to take out her eyes with his nails and fingers." "This was an unfortunate incident on the subway at Christmas time where lots of people lose their tempers," Chandler stated. A judge didn't necessarily buy Pazmino's defense, charging the woman with second degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Her bail was set at $4,000 cash/$7,500 bond, according to the NY Daily News.