A suspect who police say punched a 62-year-old man in a park after threatening to “punch the first white man” he saw has been indicted on a charge of manslaughter as a hate crime. The upgraded charge against 31-year-old Lashawn Marten was unsealed Tuesday. He faces up to life in prison if convicted and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam.
Jeffrey Babbitt died after he was struck in Manhattan’s Union Square Park in early September. Babbitt was white. Marten is black.
In an earlier interview, Babbitt said he’s not racist because he’s punched people of various races.