Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Jahnaiya Williams, 19, has been charged with assault as a hate crime and other crimes. Williams is the third person accused in the July 9, 2022 assault on a 57-year-old-woman while on a public bus near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. One of the defendants, who is a juvenile, is being prosecuted in Family Court and the other female’s case is next on in court on August 24, 2022.

District Attorney Katz said, “As alleged, the defendant, as well as two other apprehended individuals, carried out an unprovoked assault on a public transit rider simply because of the victim’s race. I am committed to holding accountable those who perpetuate bias-motivated attacks on the residents of the most diverse county in the world. The defendant is now charged with assault as a hate crime and will be held to account for her alleged actions.”

Williams, 19, of Waltham Street, in Jamaica, New York, was arraigned yesterday in Queens Criminal Court before Judge Diego Freire on charges of assault in the second and third degree as a hate crime, assault in the second and third degree, menacing in the third degree as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree and menacing. Judge Freire ordered the defendant to return to Court on August 19, 2022. If convicted, Williams faces 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison.

District Attorney Katz said that, according to video surveillance footage and information provided by the complainant, at approximately 6:30 p.m. on July 9, 2022, the defendant, who was holding a shopping bag, and the two females with her, allegedly approached the victim as she sat near the rear of the Q53 bus. The defendant, allegedly looked directly at victim saying, “I hate white people.” She also stated that she hates white people’s skin. As the bus passed a cemetery the defendant stated to the victim, “I am going to kill you, this is where I’m going to bury you.” The defendant also allegedly removed a jar from her shopping bag and told the victim she would beat the victim with the object.

Continuing, as the bus came to a stop near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, the defendant and the juvenile both spat on the victim. The defendant then allegedly hit the victim repeatedly in the head with the shopping bag containing the jar. The defendant, along with at least one of her partners, allegedly punched the victim several times in her head and the trio then fled the bus together.

The victim was taken to a local Queens hospital for her injuries which included a deep laceration on the right side of her head which required three staples.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Redmond Halpern of the New York City Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

Assistant District Attorneys Gabriel Mendoza, Assistant Deputy Bureau Chief and Michael Brovner, Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of Supreme Court Trials Pishoy Yacoub.

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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