Man charged with hate crime after CCTV shows another Asian woman randomly attacked on street in NYC

Study found 149 per cent increase in crimes against Asians in first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019

Stuti Mishra,Gustaf Kilander
Tuesday 01 June 2021 20:02
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<p>File image: A 55-year-old woman was punched unprovoked by a man in Chinatown</p>

File image: A 55-year-old woman was punched unprovoked by a man in Chinatown

The NYPD has charged a man with a hate crime after he was recorded on video in New York City’s Chinatown punching an Asian woman in the face and knocking her to the ground, amid a surge in racial attacks against Asian Americans.

The attacker was identified as 48-year-old Alexander Wright, who has been charged with assault, assault as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, Reuters reported.

Surveillance camera footage of the assault was posted to Twitter by assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, whose district covers Chinatown. The incident took place on Monday evening at 6.15pm.

The victim, who is reported to be a 55-year-old woman, can be seen walking in front of a cafe. A man in an orange hoodie and denim jacket suddenly punches her in an unprovoked attack, after which the woman falls down back onto the pavement.

Several people approach her and she can be seen sitting still, with the support of a pillar of an adjacent building, as others look stunned.

One man who approaches the woman to check on her, asks: “Are you okay?” But the woman doesn’t respond or move.

Assemblywoman Niou, while sharing the video, said it was sent to her by one of her constituents. She wrote: “This just happened in my district in Chinatown.”

The woman was brought to the New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital in stable condition, police told local media outlets.

Mr Wright lives in a homeless shelter and was arrested eight times last year for assault and setting fires.

Bystander Jin Zhen posted on Instagram that he ran to a police station to notify them of the assault. Officers tracked down Mr Wright several blocks away from the scene of the crime, which took place on Bayard Street in southern Manhattan.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told CBS New York: “Lives in a shelter, arrested eight times in the last year, randomly assaulting people, setting fires. The guy that was arrested on Friday setting fires. What are we doing in society, we’re releasing these people right back onto the street?”

The incident is one in a series of attacks recently reported against Asians. Last week, an Asian cashier was punched in Manhattan. Last month, an older woman was pushed outside a bakery in Queens.

A report released by the Centre for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University found a 149 per cent increase in crimes against Asians in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the first quarter of 2019, marking a sharp increase in such attacks.

The report said that the first spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans came “amidst a rise in Covid cases and negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic”.

According to the analysis, New York City had the steepest increase, rising from 13 hate crimes in the first quarter of 2019, to 42 in the same period last year, a 223 per cent jump.

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