MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man out on parole after serving 17 years for fatally stabbing his mother has been arrested and charged in the brutal caught-on-camera attack on a 65-year-old Asian American woman who was on her way to church in Manhattan.
Brandon Elliot, 38, was arraigned Tuesday night and charged with two counts of second-degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who filed the charges against Elliot, said "Attacks against Asian American New Yorkers are attacks against all New Yorkers, and my office will continue to stand against hate in all its forms."
Police say Elliot is the man seen punching and kicking the victim in a video that has made national headlines.
The unprovoked attack happened just before noon Monday in front of 360 West 43rd Street in Midtown, where authorities say the victim was kicked and fell to the ground as the suspect made anti-Asian statements toward her.
He then repeatedly struck her while she was on the ground, saying "(Expletive) you. You don't belong here."
The woman suffered a fractured pelvis and contusion to the head. Her family tells Eyewitness News she is improving.
Meanwhile, at the building where this assault happened, the property management company, the Brodsky Organization, says it is cooperating with the investigation and released the full security footage from the lobby to Eyewitness News.
The management company says two building employees closed the lobby door because the suspect had a knife.
In the original surveillance footage, you can see a man confront the attacker but then back off.
As soon as that confrontation ends, the new video does show that the building staff went to immediately help the victim.
However, it also shows during that confrontation that they let a resident exit the building and allowed her to walk towards the altercation.
The management company also says staff flagged down police, but the NYPD has a different version.
"The patrol officers in that part of Manhattan, they came upon the victim after she was assaulted. So no 911 calls," NYPD Det. Michael Rodriguez said.
The building staff has been suspended pending further investigation, but Police Commissioner Dermot Shea was quick not to blame the building workers, who have come under blistering public scrutiny.
"My focus is on the victim. And my focus is on the individual," Shea said. "Let's not lose sight of whose responsible for this and that's the individual who committed the crime."
Elliot was identified by residents as a local homeless person, and multiple Crime Stoppers tips directed police to the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel serving as a homeless shelter on West 40th Street.
"He could've been mad at his toenail and came and did something to me," said Kenneth McMenas, who lives at the shelter.
Police spent the day Tuesday watching the hotel and neighborhood and took Elliot into custody Tuesday night.
If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison, as well as other consequences related to his lifetime parole.
Authorities say Elliot has a long police record, and that he was arrested in July 2002 for stabbing his mother to death in front of his 5-year-old sister at their Bronx home. He was 19 at the time.
After serving 17 years in state prison, he was released on lifetime parole in November 2019.
Additionally, when Elliot was 17, police arrested him for choking his mother and ripping off her jewelry in a fight over money.
"He served his time, and he was released to parole," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. "That means something, and I think that that anyone given a second chance deserves second chances."
Shea, however, says he don't understand why ex-cons are being pushed out of prisons and into hotels expecting good outcomes.
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch released a statement on the suspect's criminal history.
"Letting this murderer out of prison so that he could spew hate and beat down a defenseless person was a political choice," Lynch said. "Politicians have deliberately created a system that prioritizes his interests over the safety of New Yorkers. Many of these hateful attacks could be prevented if we had a functioning criminal justice system. Our elected leaders chose to dismantle it."
NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy criticized New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's policies for the suspect being "let back out on the streets."
"Only in Andrew Cuomo's New York can you be convicted of killing your own mother and be let back out on the streets," Langworthy said. "The savage assault of an Asian-American woman in Midtown Manhattan would have never happened if Cuomo's radical parole board did not release this dangerous felon. This is sadly another horrifying example of how dangerous criminals have been prioritized by this governor, including the release of 17 cop-killers and the appointment of a cop-killer to a 'police reform board.' These asinine policies must be reversed and it starts with throwing those responsible out of office."
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