The ex-convict who allegedly beat a 60-year-old woman with her own cane in a Harlem subway station was cut loose by cops after the heinous, caught-on-camera assault — and the officers’ response is under investigation, The Post has learned.
In the now-viral recording, the hulking suspect — publicly identified by cops Tuesday as 43-year-old Norton Blake —bashed Laurell Reynolds, 60, dozens of times on her head, stomach, leg, arms, back and hands as she fell to the ground inside the West 116 Street and Lenox Avenue station at about 3:30 a.m. Friday.
“They should’ve arrested him!” Reynolds, who is disabled and uses a walker and does not work, told The Post in a bedside interview.
“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.”
A transit worker called the city’s Rail Control Center — which in turn contacted 911 — while she filmed the early-morning attack, according to Richard Davey, president of the New York City Transit Authority.
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, according to law enforcement sources.
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.
Reynolds remained hospitalized Tuesday after being struck so hard and so often that the cane shattered over her body.
Her 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, told The Post Tuesday about 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.
“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 sources say has nine prior arrests for a variety of crimes such as drug possession, assault, trespassing and resisting arrest — gave police a fake name when they arrived, sources said.
It’s not clear what precipitated the assault, though NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said Tuesday a witness reported it started with an argument that broke out as the victim walked up the subway steps.
Reynolds, from her bed in Harlem Hospital, told The Post that she encountered Blake on the stairs in the station — and he was less than cordial.
“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.”
Reynolds said the cops, when they arrived, didn’t do much to rectify the situation.
“I told the cops, ‘Lock him up, because he attacked me,”’ she said, adding that after they spoke to Blake, they told her that if they locked him up, they’d have to lock her up too.
“I guess because I was trying to defend myself?” she said. “But you know, that’s not right at all.”
Reynolds can’t recall if she said anything to the alleged perp, whom she did not know.
“I’ve lost memory,” she said. “My eye was [swollen shut] … This is how bad he beat me, that I can’t recall. The cane broke on me.”
Reynolds also said she was frustrated that the transit worker who filmed the ordeal never stepped in to save her.
“I’m like, ‘Please help me, please help me!'” she said. “And they did not do nothing in that booth.”
Davey, the New York City Transit president, said the worker did exactly what she should have.
“This agent acted exactly how I would have expected. She was recording it, while reporting it,” he told The Post.
“There is a video now of the crime, so whatever defense would be put up is going to be woefully undercut as a result of the video,” he continued. “It is grotesque and disgusting and it will be, I hope, in front of a court and a jury in short order.”
Blake still has not been found, though police officials believe he’ll be arrested soon.
Sources said the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the response from the cops who answered the 911 call.
Asked for comment, an NYPD spokesperson said, “This incident remains under investigation.”
An ambulance brought Reynolds to the hospital about two hours later, sources told The Post. She has been there since about 5 a.m. Friday.
“I am scared — I’m very scared because at any time you could get assaulted or attacked by somebody,” Reynolds said.
“I am in a lot of pain and it’s bad,” she continued. “I can’t use the bathroom. I have used a pan to use the bathroom now. I can’t do nothing, I can barely clean myself.”
Additional reporting by Joe Marino and Amanda Woods