Police on Wednesday arrested the suspect who allegedly beat a 60-year-old disabled woman at a Manhattan subway station — after cops initially cut him loose following the heinous, caught-on-video assault, according to sources.
Norton Blake, 43, was picked up by the NYPD’s Warrant Squad around 6:30 a.m. — five days after the attack on Laurell Reynolds, 60, inside the West 116 Street and Lenox Avenue station in Harlem, police sources said.
Charges were pending against Blake, who has nine prior arrests — including a 2017 bust for assaulting a cop on a Harlem train platform, according to authorities and sources.
Reynolds’ daughter, Lashanna Reese, 41, told The Post Wednesday that she was happy the suspect was finally in cuffs — but worried it wouldn’t keep him off the streets for long.
“I’m glad they caught him but they can release him, too,” Reese said.
“So now I fear for my safety and my mother’s safety because he has family too,” she said, adding she wanted to get her mother transfered to a different hospital.
The hulking suspect allegedly used the woman’s own cane to strike Reynolds, who uses a walker, dozens of times on her head, stomach, leg, arms, back and hands around 3:30 a.m. Friday, causing her to fall to the ground.
An MTA worker had called the city’s Rail Control Center — which in turn contacted 911 — while she filmed the two-minute ordeal, Richard Davey, president of the New York City Transit Authority, said Tuesday.
Disturbing footage of the attack later went viral online, and sources on Tuesday said the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau was investigating the response by the cops who answered the 911 call.
The cops spoke to both Reynolds and Blake when they arrived — and eventually cut the suspected brute loose after the two offered conflicting accounts of what happened, the law enforcement sources said.
Although the responding cops did see the video, it’s not clear whether they watched it before or after they let Blake slip into the wind.
“They should’ve arrested him!” Reynolds, who is disabled and does not work, told The Post in a bedside interview Tuesday from Harlem Hospital, where she remained in bad shape.
Reynolds said she was struck so hard and so often that the cane shattered over her body.
“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,” she added. “They need to keep that man off the street.”
Reynolds’ daughter Lashanne Reese, 41, also lashed out at cops for failing to arrest Blake in the station — and bemoaned the fact that no one came to her mom’s aid.
“He could do this to someone else’s mother or father because they did not lock him up,” Reese, of the Bronx, said Tuesday of the officers’ actions.
“That man could’ve killed my mother … You all did nothing. I have a problem with that,” she said of nobody stepping in to help Reynolds.
“He needs help — no, he shouldn’t be on the street,” Reese, who works at Crisis Management System/Bronx Community Justice Center, said as she broke down in tears. “He just attacked my mother and beat her with a cane. He don’t belong on the street.”
Blake, who gave police a fake name when they arrived, according to sources, was publicly identified as the suspect in the attack on Tuesday by NYPD officials.
NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper told reporters that the beating stemmed from an argument between Reynolds and Blake as the victim walked up the subway station steps.
“We’re looking for him, and I’m pretty confident that in short order, he will be arrested and charged for that assault on that female,” Kemper said.
Reynolds told The Post the aggressive suspect barked at her to move.
“I was trying to get my walker up the steps, and this man was coming down and he was like, ‘Move, bitch, get out of the way,’” she recalled.
“He really started cursing at me,” she said. “Then he pushed me down and hit me with the cane and knocked me down … he took my walker and he beat me.
“I’m trying to get him off me, because he’s hitting me and he’s beating me with this cane and he’s beating me really hard and everything,” she continued. “He hit me in my head and everywhere and all over. It was nothing I could do.”
Blake’s prior arrests — dating back to 2002 — have been for crimes such as drug possession, assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence and possessing stolen property, law enforcement sources said.
He was sentenced to 45 days behind bars in 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of third-degree assault for pushing a cop who tried to cuff him at the 135th Street subway station.
Horrifying video captures a brutal attack in a Harlem subway station where a homeless man assaulted a 60-year-old black woman with her own cane and later punched her head multiple times. This senseless act of violence is deeply disturbing, #BLM #BlackCrimesMatter #NYC #CrimeNews pic.twitter.com/4rIAsH0L9m
— US-Crimes (@OfficialUScrime) September 5, 2023