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Woman arrested in attack on cello player in NYC subway

By Mandy Donalds
March 1, 2024

A New York City cellist was recent attacked while playing at a subway station, and the assailant, with a history of arrests, has been released on supervised release.

In a disturbing incident in New York City's subway, a cellist was violently attacked while performing, leading to the arrest of a 23-year-old woman with a significant criminal history. Despite the severity of the charges, the assailant was released under supervised conditions, raising concerns about the safety of public performers and the efficacy of the city's judicial system, as reported by the New York Post.

Subway performance turns into a shocking event

The victim, a musician named Iain S. Forrest, was performing in the Herald Square station when he was unexpectedly attacked.

The assailant, identified as Amira Hunter, allegedly struck Forrest in the head with a metal water bottle, an act that was captured on video and led to widespread shock among New Yorkers.

Forrest, who is also a PhD student at Mount Sinai, expressed his trauma and dismay following the assault. He shared on social media that the incident had left him demoralized, to the point where he could not bring himself to play music, a significant part of his identity and passion.

Legal system's response to the assault

At Hunter's arraignment, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office recommended that the suspect be held on bail, citing her history of failing to appear at court dates and her multiple prior arrests.

However, the judge decided to release Hunter on supervised release, a move that has sparked debate about the handling of repeat offenders in the city.

Hunter's criminal record includes a variety of charges, ranging from petty larceny to grand larceny, as well as previous assaults. This history raises questions about the risk she poses to the community and the effectiveness of non-custodial measures in ensuring public safety.

Community and performers demand action

The attack on Forrest is not an isolated incident.

The cellist himself has been a victim of violence in the subway before, highlighting a concerning trend of aggression towards performers.

In response, Forrest and other musicians have called for increased security and protection, emphasizing the need for a safe environment to share their art with the public.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) have been urged to take stronger measures to safeguard performers.

The Subway Performers Advocacy Group, formed by Forrest and his peers, aims to work with city officials to prevent future incidents and ensure that the subway remains a safe platform for artistic expression.

The community's reaction to the attack and the subsequent legal decision has been one of concern and frustration. Many feel that the justice system's leniency towards Hunter does not adequately address the gravity of her actions or the impact on Forrest and the broader community of performers and commuters.

Looking forward: Ensuring safety for all

The incident has sparked a broader conversation about safety in public spaces, particularly for artists who contribute to the cultural vibrancy of New York City.

As Forrest and other performers advocate for change, the city faces the challenge of balancing the rights and freedoms of individuals with the need to protect its citizens from harm.

The MTA's statement emphasizes their commitment to holding perpetrators accountable and ensuring the safety of all individuals within the transit system.

However, the effectiveness of these assurances will be measured by the actions taken and the experiences of those who navigate the city's public spaces daily.

Forrest's experience is a sobering reminder of the vulnerabilities faced by public performers and the imperative to create environments where art and community can flourish without fear of violence or intimidation.


  • A cellist was attacked in the NYC subway, leading to widespread concern.
  • The accused assailant, with a significant criminal history, was released on supervised release.
  • The incident has prompted calls for increased security and support for public performers.
  • The effectiveness of the judicial system in dealing with repeat offenders is under scrutiny.
  • Artists and the community are advocating for a safer environment for creative expression.