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Man Sentenced to Prison After Racially-Motivated Attack on MTA Employee in Forest Hills

71 Continental Ave subway station

71 Continental Ave subway station (QP)

Oct. 2, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A Woodside man has been sentenced to three and half years in prison for a hate crime committed against an MTA employee at the 71st Street/Continental Avenue station earlier this year, announced District Attorney Richard Brown today.

Meher Kalam, 23, pleaded guilty to second degree assault as a hate crime last month that took place in June, where he called an MTA train conductor the n-word and punched him repeatedly.

According to the charges, Keith Simon, the conductor, spotted Kalam sleeping on the train as he did a walk through at around 9:20 p.m. on June 18. Simon woke Kalam up and told him he had to exit the train, as it was being parked for the evening at the 71st and Continental Avenue train station on Queens Boulevard.

Kalam yelled, “N—, I am going to f— you up” and pushed the conductor toward a slowly-approaching train. He then punched the conductor in the face with his forearm, and repeatedly hit his stomach when the victim tried to restrain him.

“This was a vicious, unprovoked attack on an MTA worker who was just doing his job,” said DA Brown, adding, “This kind of violence—especially motivated by hate and prejudice—will not be tolerated in Queens County.”

Kalam’s three and a half year prison sentence will be followed by three years post release supervision.

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