Search continues in brutal Manhattan attack on Asian woman heading to church

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Search continues in brutal NYC attack on Asian woman heading to church
Josh Einiger has the latest on a brutal attack of an Asian woman in New York City as she was heading to church.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The urgent search continues for the man behind another brutal attack on an Asian American, after video showed him punching and kicking the 65-year-old woman on her way to church.

It happened just before noon Monday in front of 360 West 43rd Street in Midtown, and police are hoping to identify the assailant in the unprovoked and vicious assault.

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."

Police are searching for the man caught on camera attacking an Asian woman on her way to church in Midtown on Monday.

The man fled the scene, and workers across the street said a man chased down the assailant to confront him -- but the perpetrator pulled a knife and got away.

The victim was taken to the hospital, suffering a fractured pelvis and contusion to the head.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea discussed the attack on NY1.

"This last attack very disturbing," he said. "It's really disgusting when you see the video. We are calling on all New Yorkers, anyone with information. We put out a pretty good picture of the individual we want to talk to, that was seen walking away. You try to make sense of it, and you can't. I don't know who attacks a 65-year-old woman and leaves her on the street like that."

He also talked about increased patrols, including undercover officers, who started Friday in predominantly Asian American communities.

"We are putting heavy uniformed presence, that's the bulk of the resources," he said. "Those are going into predominantly Asian communities in New York City: Flushing, Chinatown, parts of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. But really through the transit system. It's all over. That's the thing as we start coming out of Passover and now into Muslim high holy days and thinking of things of this sort. An attack on one group is an attack on all, and that's the thing we have to keep enforcing here. Whether it's anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ, when New Yorkers come together and just say enough is enough, I think we are getting in the right direction."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance in the investigation.

"The reports of a brutal assault on an Asian American woman in Midtown are absolutely horrifying and repugnant," he said. "We are all New Yorkers, no matter how we look or what language we speak, and we must always look out for one another and help those who need it...Violence against our Asian American community is unfortunately becoming an epidemic in our state and across this nation, and it must stop now. These abhorrent acts of hate have absolutely no place in our state, and we all must stand together as one united voice to denounce hate and violence in all its forms, whenever and wherever we see it."

The NYPD Asian Hate Crime Task Force said the security guard captured on video closing the door failed to render aid, and the staff in question has been suspended pending further investigation.

"I'm shaking right now," neighbor Charles Youn said. "I'm shaking. I live right next door...It's just outlandish for me that no one intervened. Seeing the reaction of the doorman and deliveryman inside, it's so sickening."

Community activists held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to speak out against the attack and demand a stop to the violence.

"Closed their door on a woman lying on the sidewalk, isn't that the perfect symbolism of exactly what is happening right now?" said Jo-Ann Yoo with the Asian American Foundation.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also questioned the security guard's actions.

"A security guard standing nearby and not intervening, absolutely unacceptable," de Blasio said. "I don't care who you are, I don't care what you do, you got to help your fellow New Yorker."

The union, however, pushed back on that claim.

Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ President Kyle Bragg said the building's door staff "called for help immediately" and urged the public "to avoid a rush to judgment while the facts are determined."

Here is Bragg's full statement:

"We unequivocally condemn all acts of hate against the AAPI community. The attack at 360 West 43rd Street is appalling and is yet another example of the unbridled hate and terror against our AAPI neighbors. We are disgusted and outraged by the attack and stand with our AAPI members who have increasingly faced this kind of hatred in their daily lives. The incident on West 43rd St. is under investigation, including the role of the door staff. The information we have at the moment is that the door staff, members of SEIU 32BJ, called for help immediately. The staff in question has been suspended pending further investigation. Our union is working to get further details for a more complete account, and urge the public to avoid a rush to judgment while the facts are determined. We stand with our AAPI members and their families and communities. For four years, anti-AAPI hatred was stoked at the highest levels of government and has sparked sickening hate crimes in Atlanta, NYC and nearly every city in America. We must root out this hatred in all its forms before more senseless attacks occur. The perpetrators of these crimes, including the attack last night, must be held fully accountable under all federal and state civil rights and hate crime laws."

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden tweeted that he's taking additional steps to address the crimes, including an anti-Asian crimes initiative at the Department of Justice.

He's also allocating nearly $50 million in part to create a new COVID-19 task force to end xenophobia.

ALSO READ | New Jersey superintendent accused of dismissing BLM, anti-Asian hate as political issues

Students at Northern Highlands Regional High Schools say superintendent Dr. Scot Beckerman dismissed Black Lives Matter and anti-Asian bias movements.

Manhattan Borough President candidate Lindsey Boylan is calling for New Yorkers to get bystander training in wake of the incident.

"Today I am calling on New Yorkers to join me in signing up for workshops hosted by Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. One is on Bystander Intervention Training on Anti-Asian American Harassment, the other is on gender-based harassment," she said in a statement. "The same instinct that causes us to turn away from Asian Americans is the same instinct that causes us to turn away from our other BIPOC siblings, our LGBTQ+ siblings, and women who experience sexual harassment and violence."

Meanwhile, Asian Americans continue to live in fear.

"I'm sick and tired of what's going on with the Asian community and I feel somebody has to step up, and I'm here to support the Asian," community activist Calvin Hunt said. "What in the heck is happening with people in New York? My motto, if you see something, do something."

According to police, there have been 33 anti-Asian hate crimes so far this year -- up until Sunday -- compared to 29 through all of 2020.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).


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