A New York City man accused of attacking seven women targeted his victims based on their skin color, prosecutors said while announcing a 52-count indictment against him.
Khari Covington, 29, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of assault, burglary and strangulation as hate crimes among other charges. He was arrested on Jan. 5 and remains jailed on $150,000 bail.
The Kings County District Attorney's Office said that Covington, who lives in a transitional housing center, allegedly targeted "light-skinned women" during a series of attacks between August 2020 to Jan. 4 in the East Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Five of the attacks happened in the Morgan Avenue subway station, one was at a building near the station and one was at a smoke shop.
“This defendant’s alleged violent and unprovoked attacks endangered the women he targeted and caused widespread fear in the community," district attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.
"I am committed to prosecuting all hate crimes where victims, including as alleged in this case, are targeted because of their gender, skin color or race," he continued.
One of the victims, Bianca Fortis, told NBC New York that Covington "came out of nowhere" and started punching her.
"He hit my face, my chest, my shoulder," she said.
Another woman said she was at the Morgan Avenue station in November when Covington allegedly came down behind her and attacked her.
"He must have — from the angle and from what I've gathered — kicked me in the side of the face and head from behind," Elizabeth Wakefield told the outlet. "My immediate thought after it happened to me was, I really hope this doesn't happen again to somebody else."
Covington faces up to 25 years to life in prison if he's convicted. His attorney did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.