The New York Police Department has confirmed to TPM that a cab driver in Manhattan was allegedly stabbed by a passenger who asked if the cabbie was Muslim, and says the incident is being treated as a hate crime. The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes.
According to Detective Marc Nell, at 6:14 pm last night, the driver picked up Michael Enright, 21, of Brewster, NY, at the intersection of 24th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. The cab proceeded to drive north, and Enright asked the driver, who Nell identified as a 43-year-old Asian male, if he was Muslim. After the driver responded that he was, Enright allegedly stabbed him repeatedly with a Leatherman tool, according to police.
“[Enright] stabbed the driver in the throat, right arm, left forearm, right thumb and upper lip,” Nell said.
According to police, the driver called 911, and stopped the cab on 3rd Avenue between 40th and 41st streets, managing to lock Enright inside until police arrived.
Nell told TPM that the cab driver is in stable condition, and that Enright has been charged with “attempted murder two as a hate crime, assault with a weapon as a hate crime, aggravated harassment second degree because of race and religion, and criminal possession of a weapon.”
The Associated Press reports that Enright is expected to appear in court today.
Nell could not confirm that Enright had admitted to asking the driver if he was Muslim.
The driver, Ahmed H. Sharif, released a statement through the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, saying “I never feel this hopeless and insecure before.”
“I feel very sad,” Sharif said. “I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here.”
The New York Post reports that both Sharif and Enright were taken to Bellevue Hospital after the incident. Police would not confirm to TPM where Enright was currently located.
Allan Fromberg, a spokeperson for the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, told TPM that the Commission was aware of the incident, and that an official response was forthcoming, but that he could not comment publicly yet.
“A number of things are sort of in motion on this, as we speak,” Fromberg said.
The New York Times reports that an anonymous police source has said Enright was “very drunk” at the time of the incident.
The incident was first reported by NY1.
Editor’s Note: This post has been added to since it was first published.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com