The incident occurred Tuesday evening on a northbound J train prior to its arrival at Marcy Avenue and Broadway, according to the NYPD.
Devictor Ouedraogo, 36, had reportedly been harassing people, acting belligerent, erratic, getting into people's faces. A video reported by the New York Daily News taken by an individual on the train shows a shirtless Ouedraogo acting drunk and even gyrating in a man's face when the passenger refuses to acknowledge him.
Eventually Ouedraogo turned his focus toward Jordan Williams, 20, of Queens.
Ouedraogo was reportedly talking about “white power” and asked Mr Williams’ girlfriend — who has thus far remained unnamed — if she wanted to have sex with him.
It's unclear how events escalated, but a source speaking with NBC News New York said that Ouedraogo eventually punched Mr Williams' girlfriend.
At some point the situation escalated further and Mr Williams allegedly stabbed Mr Ouedraogo in the chest.
Police transported the man to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital to treat the stab wound. He was ultimately pronounced dead at the hospital, according to police.
Mr Williams was arrested and charged with manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon on Wednesday, according to the NYPD.
A witness claims Mr Williams said “I just stabbed that n*****. “You see him leaking?” according to the Daily News.
The attorney representing Mr Williams said his client was acting in self-defence, and called it "upsetting" that he was charged without a thorough investigation.
"We understand that this was a packed subway car during rush hour with dozens of witnesses. We have spoken with some who have already confirmed that the victim was physically violent with others prior to and during this incident," Jason Goldman, Mr Williams' attorney, said.
Mr Goldman expressed frustration that his client was not receiving the same treatment that Daniel Penny, who allegedly killed Jordan Neely after the latter reportedly had been harassing passengers. Mr Penny was questioned and then released for the duration of the police investigation into Neely's death. Mr Williams, who is Black, was kept in custody.
"Is Mr. Williams not getting the same treatment that Mr. Penny received — released, voluntary surrender, and low bail — because his skin color is different and he comes from a particular neighborhood?" Mr Goldman asked. "Instead, those very factors will likely result in Mr. Williams, a young boy, fighting this case of clear self-defense from a cage at Rikers," he said, referring to the city's largest jail.
On Thursday morning Mr Williams was released from custody without bond but on the condition that he remains supervised by authorities.