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Suspect in New York subway feces attack, also charged in separate hate crime, released again

Police said the suspect was re-arrested Wednesday at the precinct when they realized he was the suspect in a September antisemitic hate crime.
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After New York City police arrested and charged the suspect in last week's horrific feces-smearing attack, they discovered that he was also the suspect in a September hate crime — but he was still released Wednesday.

Police confirmed that Frank Abrokwa, 37, was arrested Monday and charged with forcible touching on a train, menacing, disorderly conduct and harassment in connection with the Feb. 21 feces-smearing attack on a Bronx subway platform.

Abrokwa was re-arrested Wednesday on charges of hate crime menacing and hate crime harassment in connection with an antisemitic assault in September.

He is alleged to have called a Jewish man a slur, threatened to kill him and spat on him. Police said they realized he was the suspect in the Brooklyn incident after he was arrested in the feces attack.

They are just two of Abrokwa's multiple arrests, and releases, in recent weeks.

The Bronx district attorney confirmed to NBC New York that Abrokwa was again released on his own recognizance after he was booked on the new charges Wednesday.

A woman was sitting on a Bronx subway platform last week when a stranger walked up holding a plastic bag.
A woman was sitting on a Bronx subway platform last week when a stranger walked up holding a plastic bag.NYPD

Abrokwa had previously been arrested Feb. 22 — after the feces incident but before he was identified as the suspect — and charged with robbery, grand larceny, petty larceny, menacing with a weapon — a screwdriver — criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property, police said.

Authorities alleged that he stole items from a store and, when challenged by an employee, pulled out a screwdriver and held it "in a menacing way" and challenged the employee to call the police.

NBC New York reported that Abrokwa already had two other cases pending in Manhattan in connection with misdemeanor assaults earlier in February, in which he is alleged to have randomly punched people in the face.

None of the charges qualify for Abrokwa to be held on bail under New York state’s bail reform laws, NBC New York reported.

City officials slammed Abrokwa's repeated releases.

“This individual should not be out on the streets of New York and his release shows the scope of changes that we need to make in order to keep New Yorkers safe," Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday in a statement.

"It is the result of a failed mental health system, a failed housing and support system, and failing criminal justice laws that allow someone with a history of violence who poses a clear threat to public safety to just walk out of court."

Janno Lieber, the chair and CEO the Metropolitan Transit Authority — the agency that oversees the subways where the feces attack took place — said Thursday that Abrokwa's release "defies common sense."

"I’m not a criminal justice expert, but I don’t understand how someone who commits this kind of assault — which was violent, horribly victimizing a transit rider — can just walk free even when he has four other open cases against him, including two other transit assaults and a hate crime charge," Lieber said.

Abrokwa's attorney, William Ferris John, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.