NYC subway beating suspect Norton Blake was set FREE by cops after ‘hitting 60-year-old woman with her own cane 50 times’ – because the pair offered ‘conflicting accounts’
- Cops have IDed 43-year-old Norton Blake as the sole suspect in the Friday attack
- Officers at the scene interviewed Blake but let him walk, new report claims
- Shocking video showed victim Laurell Reynolds being beaten by her own cane
New York City cops let the suspect accused of beating a 60-year-old woman with her own cane walk free after interviewing him at the scene of the heinous attack.
Norton Blake, 43, was named by NYPD officials as the sole suspect in the attack on Laurell Reynolds, which occurred early Friday inside a Harlem subway station.
Officers questioned Blake but let him go without arresting him after he and Reynolds offered conflicting accounts of the attack, the New York Post reported.
The officers’ handling of Blake at the scene is now under investigation, sources said. An NYPD spokesman did not comment when reached by DailyMail.com.
The victim Reynolds, who uses a walker, voiced her outrage, telling the Post in a bedside interview: ‘They should’ve arrested him!’
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‘I don’t deserve that. Not at all, not at all … and I pray to God that it doesn’t happen to no one else,’ said Reynolds. ‘They need to keep that man off the street.’
It’s unclear whether police viewed bystander video of the attack before or after they cut Blake loose.
The video was filmed by a transit worker, who called the city’s Rail Control Center, which in turn called 911, as she documented the attack, officials said.
NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper named Blake as the prime suspect in the attack at a press conference on Tuesday.
Blake remained at large on Tuesday night, a law enforcement source confirmed to DailyMail.com.
Within days of the attack, the two-minute clip of the beating went viral – sparking a search for the man in footage after he successfully fled before cops arrived.
The attack happened just before 3:30am Friday, as Reynolds – who resides in the Bronx – was making her way through the subway station at West 116 Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem.
‘Now I know,’ recalled 41-year-old Lashanne Reese, also of the Bronx, after being left wondering why her mom never made it to back her apartment for a party she was having Saturday, after leaving her home to go home and change.
Of the harrowing footage – which looked to have been filmed from inside a subway toll booth – she said: ‘I’m hurt – it hurts.’
‘That man could’ve killed my mother,’ she added, as her mom remains hospitalized and is believed to be in stable condition.
‘You all did nothing. I have a problem with that.’
Blake has a laundry list of priors, ranging from drug possession and assault to trespassing and resisting arrest, but reportedly gave a false name to cops on Friday.
‘We’re looking for him, and I’m pretty confident that in short order, he will be arrested and charged for that assault,’ Kemper assured reporters after revealing Blake to be their sole suspect.
Of how the altercation transpired, the top transit cop said he and others believed the suspect and Reynolds had engaged in some kind of argument as the victim traversed one of the station’s staircases.
‘A witness [said] they were arguing over something that might have dropped,’ Kemper said, claiming it was still unclear whether the two knew each other.
‘He might have been helping her carry something up the steps and something might have dropped, causing them to argue,’ he theorized.
The dispute soon devolved into one of the most heinous assaults on the system in recent memory, during which Blake allegedly hit Reynolds in the head, stomach, leg, arms, back, and hands.
The beating – which commenced after Blake snagged the woman’s walking stick from her hands – continued as she fell to the ground, and left thousands across the city and country shocked due to its prolonged and relentless nature.
Law enforcement sources further told the Post that Blake, while on the run, is well known to the NYPD – and has prior arrests for drug possession, assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, evidence tampering, and possessing stolen property.
Two of the assault offenses saw the suspect strike other NYPD officers, the insiders said – one in 2017 while resisting arrest and another in 2003 where he punched an officer in the face while he was off-duty.
Reese told the Post she was unsure why her mother was in Harlem at the time of the assault, and lamented that nobody on the platform jumped in to help when she was assaulted.
‘We’re supposed to be a loving, caring community. It’s unity in community – if we put unity in, we get a whole community,’ Reese said.
‘For them not to do that … this is why it’s going on everywhere,’ she continued. ‘Everywhere this is happening because there is no unity in our community.’
Of the suspect, she tearfully said: He needs help – No, he shouldn’t be on the street.
‘He just attacked my mother and beat her with a cane. He don’t belong on the street.
Subway crime has been labeled one of the city’s major crises and though statistics say transit offenses are down slightly, even progressive Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said last month he was afraid for his family when they road the subway.
‘I know the statistics that transit crime is down, but when one of my family members gets on the train, I, too, get a knot in my stomach,’ he told FOX 5 News when asked about the perception that the subway system is becoming increasingly unsafe.
‘I live here, I’m raising my family here, so we have a lot more work to do,’ he added.
Major crime decreased 9.9 percent in the subway system in July from one year ago, according to the city’s statistics.