Man accused of racist LIRR rant faces hate crimes charge

Posted: Updated:
LONG BEACH -

The district attorney in Queens has leveled hate crime charges against a Long Beach man accused of a racist rant on the Long Island Rail Road that went viral last month.

Cellphone video taken aboard a train car shows a man, identified by prosecutors as 58-year-old Edward Ruggiero, hurling racial slurs and profanities at an African-American woman.

Ruggiero faces charges of menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment.

Ruggiero allegedly grew upset with the woman for speaking loudly on a cellphone. The victim has not responded to News 12 Long Island's attempts to contact her.

Ruggiero did not answer the door at his East Penn Street home, but neighbors say his behavior in the video shocked them.

"He couldn't be pleasanter to me," said Susan Jacobi. "But I guess we all have different lives."

If convicted, Ruggiero faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine. He was released without bond. 

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