Two suspects arrested for potentially bias-related assaults in Union Square

Suspect Willie Ames

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested two men in the last week in unrelated incidents in Union Square after their alleged erratic behavior landed victims in the hospital.

Willie Ames, 47, was collared last Thursday for allegedly pushing a construction worker into the subway tracks at the Union Square station after making derogatory comments about his ethnicity earlier last month, and the New York Post noted that 34-year-old Anthony Powell was arrested this past Sunday night after he allegedly caused a panic at the Union Square Regal movie theater, reportedly strangling one of the people who was attempting to flee.

Police said that Ames, who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat during the incident in the subway station, began harassing two men of Mexican descent while they were on an uptown train that was heading towards Union Square on April 20 around 8:15 p.m. Ames allegedly turned to one of the men and said, “You guys come here to take our jobs and you bring drugs. F—king Mexicans, you people are dirty, you people are nasty.”

Once the train pulled into the station, Ames allegedly grabbed one of the men, who the New York Daily News identified as Luis Lopez, pulling him off the train and onto the platform at Union Square. The district attorney’s office said that Ames punched Lopez in the face three times and pushed him onto the subway tracks, causing a cut on his head that required staples to his scalp.

The complaint from the DA’s office specified that surveillance video showed Lopez’s body “tossed into the air” before landing on the tracks. Lopez told the Daily News that the friend he was with saved his life when he pulled him out of the tracks because when he hit his head from the fall, he lost consciousness and couldn’t move.

The News said that the suspect is related to Dennis Ames, who raps under the name “Sun God” and who is the son of Wu-Tang founding member Ghostface Killah.

Ames was collared within the confines of the 7th precinct in the Lower East Side and he was arrested for assault, attempted assault and aggravated harassment, which are being charged as hate crimes. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Police said that Powell went into the Union Square Regal at 850 Broadway around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night and alarmed moviegoers in the crowded theater, then refused to leave. The Post reported that Powell caused a panic by yelling about guns, with one man jumping from a low balcony in an attempt to escape and injuring himself in the process.

Police said that Powell then grabbed the 24-year-old man by the throat, strangling him and causing him to lose consciousness. According to the Post, Powell also yelled, “I’ve got the Jew!” when he allegedly strangled the victim. Police said that the victim was taken to NYU Medical Center but didn’t sustain any life-threatening injuries.

Powell was arrested for strangulation, reckless endangerment, assault, criminal nuisance, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. Although Powell allegedly yelled an anti-Semitic remark during the incident, the district attorney’s office did not have further information about the arrest because he had not yet been arraigned and it was unclear if he would also be charged with a hate crime.

Police said that Powell might not have been arraigned yet because he could be in the process of receiving a psychiatric evaluation. Police told Town & Village on Wednesday that Powell is currently at Bellevue Hospital, although could not confirm the reason for his admittance. Information on his lawyer was not available by T&V’s press time.

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