Man accused of assaulting seven Asian women in two hours charged with hate crimes

Steven Zajonc, 28, has been charged with six felony counts of assault and seven misdemeanor counts of aggravated harassment, all as hate crimes

Nathan Place
New York
Tuesday 05 April 2022 20:53

Police release footage of man suspected of assaulting seven Asian women

A man accused of assaulting seven Asian American women in New York has been indicted for hate crimes, Manhattan’s district attorney has announced.

Steven Zajonc, 28, has been charged with six felony counts of assault and seven misdemeanor counts of aggravated harassment, all as hate crimes. In a statement, DA Alvin Bragg condemned the attacks.

“These attacks on seven New York women, each fueled by anti-Asian hate, are yet another sobering reminder of the demonstrable fears AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] communities, particularly AAPI women, in our City continue to face,” Mr Bragg said. “As alleged, within just three hours, Steven Zajonc selectively ambushed seven Asian women in separate assaults, some of which he struck from behind – for no other reason than their perceived race.”

The assaults took place on the evening of 27 February, when police say Mr Zajonc punched, elbowed, or pushed seven different victims as he ran his way down eastern Manhattan. The entire spree took about two hours, from 6:30 to 8:37pm.

“As a result of the attacks, six of the victims suffered injuries, including bleeding lacerations and bruising to their faces,” the DA’s Office said. “Another victim was knocked unconscious by the defendant and treated in a hospital for a concussion.”

Surveillance footage from several streets caught Mr Zajonc on camera, and police posted the clips on Twitter. On 2 March, security guards at a library in Midtown Manhattan recognized Mr Zajonc when he came in and locked himself in the bathroom. The guards called 911, and police soon arrived and arrested him.

Mr Zajonc is currently being held at the Rikers Island jail complex on a $50,000 bond, The Washington Post reported. On Monday, Mr Bragg thanked all those who helped put Mr Zajonc behind bars.

“This indictment is a result of our collaboration with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, and critically, assistance from the brave witnesses and victims who came forward to stand up against hate,” he said. “My Office is a safe place to report crimes regardless of your immigration status.”

Mr Zajonc has not at this point been convicted of any wrongdoing. It is not clear who his attorney is, if he has one.

Attacks against Asian Americans have skyrocketed in recent years, particularly in New York City. According to NYPD data, bias incidents against Asians in the city have more than quadrupled, from 28 in 2020 to 131 in 2021.

In his statement, Mr Bragg encouraged anyone who has witnessed or suffered a hate crime to call his office’s Hate Crimes Hotline at 212-335-3100.

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