Cops Look at Hate Crime in NY Punching Death

Jeffrey Babbitt dies after random attack
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2013 10:21 AM CDT
An American flag flies at half-staff in Union Square in New York, Wednesday, April 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – The death of a man who suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage in Manhattan after being punched has been ruled a homicide, NY1 reports. Jeffrey Babbitt (some outlets use the spelling "Jeffery Babbit"), 62, was walking in Union Square around 3pm last Wednesday when Lashawn Marten allegedly punched him in the face in an apparently random attack, the New York Times reports. Marten, who is also reportedly known as Martin Redrick, said he wanted to "punch the first white man I see," police say.

When two men came to help Babbitt, who hit his head on the pavement when he fell, Marten allegedly hit them, as well. Marten was arrested and charged with three counts of assault, but in light of Babbitt's death yesterday, those charges will probably be upgraded by a grand jury, which is hearing the case today, police say. Marten was allegedly yelling racist threats as he walked out of the subway station before the attack. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, Gothamist reports. (Read more hate crime stories.)

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