NYC District Attorneys Denounce Attacks On Transit Workers

CBS2's Natalie Duddridge has more on Wednesday press conference.

Video Transcript

- New York City's top prosecutors are calling on the state to do more to stop assaults on transit workers. An announcement was made this afternoon in downtown Brooklyn. And that's where CBS News' Natalie Duddridge is live. Natalie.

NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: Well, Mary, it's not common that this happens. Four of the city's five district attorneys were all here this morning. The fifth sent a representative. And they were here to show their support and to stand in solidarity with transit workers, who are trying to put an end to the surge in violence on both subways and on buses.

And several of those workers told their stories here this morning about moments where they've been attacked or assaulted. And the Transit Union says that every single day, multiple workers are pushed or hit, verbally harassed, and even spit on. And today, all five DAs are now calling on the state to make spitting and other physical contact against transit workers a misdemeanor, which would be punishable by up to a year in jail. And right now, spitting, for example, is just a violation that at most can result in a fine. Now workers say they don't feel safe on the job.

- A second passenger came to the door and just spit on me. It's humiliating and frustrating. When I talked to the officers afterwards who came, they said there's nothing they can really do.

MICHAEL MCMAHON: It is not only disgusting, it is outrageous. And that's why we have to have the teeth. We have to have the law that will allow us to prosecute those who will do it and to keep our essential workers, our bus drivers, our train operators and everyone who supports to keep them safe.

NATALIE DUDDRIDGE: And commuters say they are feeling unsafe as well. Just in the last month, there have been too many incidents to list. But to name a couple, there was the stabbing deaths of two homeless men on the A train, a toddler punched on the C train in Harlem, and several people pushed onto subway tracks. Now the NYPD has added roughly 650 officers who will be dedicated to patrolling subways. Now the union here says it's a start, but they're hoping for 1,000 officers to be added to keep down crime. We're in downtown Brooklyn, Natalie Duddridge, CBS 2 News.