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NY subway fare-jumper attacks police officer at Times Square

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A suspected subway fare-jumper attacked a New York City police officer who was attempting to arrest him at the Times Square subway station on New Year's Eve, the latest in a series of crimes to disturb users of the underground train system.

In two separate incidents this month, commuters were pushed to their deaths in front of subway cars as stunned travelers looked on in horror.

On Monday morning, a 19-year-old man attacked a police officer who was arresting him for jumping the subway entrance turnstile without paying his fare, police said. They said the suspect pinned the officer down and tried to choke him.

Officers called for backup and pulled the suspect, Daniel Walker, off the officer, who was hospitalized in serious but stable condition, police said.

Walker was charged on suspicion of assault, fare evasion, resisting arrest and criminal trespass, police said.

On Saturday, Erika Menendez, 31, was charged with "murder as a hate crime" after she was accused of shoving a New York City commuter onto the tracks two days earlier as a subway sped into a Queens, New York station. The train crushed the victim.

Police said Menendez told investigators she attacked the man, Sunando Sen, because "I hate Hindus and Muslims."

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called the incident "every subway commuter's worst nightmare - being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train." Police said Menendez had never met Sen before the attack.

On December 3, Ki-Suck Han was killed after being shoved onto subway tracks in Manhattan as a train entered a station near Times Square. A suspect, Naeem Davis, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Police said Davis and Menendez both had a history of mental health issues.

Attacks on transit workers were on the rise in recent months, said Deirdre Parker, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that operates New York City subways.

Earlier this month, the MTA began offering rewards of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of suspects who attack transit workers.

(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Daniel Trotta and David Gregorio)

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