Justin Likerman and Kristin Digesaro charged with hate crime for racist rant on Long Island train

The victim, Liz Edelkind, says she was abused over the color of her skin on a train home to Long Island


                            Justin Likerman and Kristin Digesaro charged with hate crime for racist rant on Long Island train
The viral video shows a man throwing beer at an immigrant family in a train (Osman Canales/Facebook)

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: A Long Island couple who were caught on camera on a New York City commuter train, hurling abuses and throwing beers at an immigrant family, have now been charged. Justin Likerman and Kristin Digesaro, who surrendered to the transit police, are facing charges of aggravated harassment as a hate crime and child endangerment. The duo was also fired from their positions at Empire Toyota of Huntington after the dealership learned about the incident. 

The racist couple, identified as Justin Likerman, of Ronkonoma, and Kristin Digesaro, of Huntington, harassed Liz Edelkind and her husband, who were traveling on the Long Island Rail Road with their 10-year-old son and two others. In the video, Likerman can be seen throwing a beer at the family and yelling, "Look straight! Don't f***ing look at me! I'm going to get arrested tonight! I know it's not worth it, but these f***ing foreigners ain't taking over my f***ing country!" he added. Edelkind had immigrated from the Dominican Republic and believes she was targeted because of her accent and skin color.

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"The couple started to verbally attack me, calling me curse words, immigrant, that I don't pay taxes, that I have no rights in this country," Edelkind told NBC New York. She said that she could not comprehend what happening initially because she and her family "had nothing to do with them". "They threw beer at us. My pastor and her husband, and my husband, got in the way to protect me," Edelkind said.

Edelkind has pressed charges against the couple. She claimed that what happened left her family "very concerned and traumatized by this aggression". "My 10-year-old witnessed this. They ruined my son's first basketball game experience," she told Osman Canales, founder of Long Island Immigrant Student Advocates. 

On January 14, Toyota of Huntington announced that the two employees involved in the incident had been fired. The dealership wrote on Facebook, "Empire Toyota ownership and management were outraged by the event involving two of its employees this past Monday night on the Long Island Railroad. The two employees were suspended when we first heard about this incident, and, as our investigation just concluded, they have been terminated. The heart and soul of our labor force is extremely diverse and we value our employees beyond description. Further, our company’s deep support—financial and in-kind-- of Long Island’s diverse communities is a matter of public record. We can say without hesitation that whatever occurred on that LIRR train is in no way reflective of our company, its ownership, its management team, nor its employees."