A transgender woman says she was attacked on the subway — now police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. The victim spoke exclusively to NY1's Lori Chung.
"She barreled right through the people and came at me and started punching me, hitting me," said victim Jennifer Louise Lopez.
It was an attack Jennifer Louise Lopez says she did not see coming. Her late night ride on the uptown D train last month turned violent after she says she sat down next to a woman who became enraged when she realized Lopez was a transgender woman.
"She spun around and said 'Oh, you're a man', as soon as she said that she took a swing at me." Lopez said.
That's when Lopez says she ran to the other side of the car and shot this video of her alleged attacker while bystanders tried to hold the suspect back.
"After that she started yelling, 'I hope he gets off at 125th Street, I hope he gets off at 125th Street.'"
But that was Lopez's stop. And, when she got off she says the woman followed and attacked her again.
"She punched me right in my left eye," Lopez said. "Due to the punches there were at least two holes that were placed in my retina"
The suspect was gone by the time police arrived. Commuters, learning of the attack, were appalled and concerned by what happened.
"I think this is a horrific thing and it's not something that we should tolerate," said one woman.
"It should be better safety precautions for people in general, not just transgender women like myself, I think it should be safe for everyone," said another.
Lopez works as a transgender rights activist. She founded the group Everything Transgender in NYC, but says she never thought something like this would happen to her.
"We are all prone to being attacked unfortunately, of course that's not something that we want and it's something that needs to stop," Lopez said.
What's also troubling is that while those passengers on the train protected her from the attacker, Lopez say they also verbally abused her as well during that incident. Police are investigating this as a hate crime.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.