A parolee accused of shoving a Mexican immigrant onto the Union Square subway tracks told a court on Wednesday that he had to defend himself after being targeted for wearing a MAGA hat, but never pushed anyone onto the track bed.
Willie Ames, 49, of Staten Island, is accused of beating construction worker Luis Lopez on April 20, 2018, because of his Mexican heritage and tossing him onto the No. 4 tracks.
Prosecutors allege that Ames sat next to Lopez and a friend and said,“F---ing Mexicans. You people are dirty. You people are nasty," before the attack.
Ames denied that account in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday, testifying that a group of Mexican men were pointing at his hat and cursing in Spanish. He said that when two of them walked towards him, he repeatedly tried to step away.
“I stood up because they approached me aggressively speaking in their language; I didn’t understand what they were saying," Ames testified. “They got all in between with their language, their Spanish language, approaching me aggressively.”
He said that one of the men spat on his shirt, and that he felt a punch to his head. He accused Lopez of repeatedly hitting him, and said he swung his arm to block a blow, knocking Lopez onto the platform before walking away.
Prosecutors have said Ames attacked Lopez in front of 25 witnesses and have video showing Lopez being “tossed in the air” and landing on the tracks.
“I don’t know why he targeted me,” Lopez told the Daily News last year. “He started yelling that I was there to take his job and that we bring drugs here.”
Ames has a long criminal history in New York, including a 2008 arrest in which he was charged with throwing bleach at people in a deli, a 2011 attempted robbery conviction, and a 2015 bust when he was accused of stabbing a man over a dice game. He also has a Virginia murder conviction.
Police sources have said that he’s also related to Dennis Ames, the son of hip hop’s Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ghostface Killah.