NEW YORK – A man attacked an Asian American woman in broad daylight and hurled anti-Asian insults at her as she walked down a midtown Manhattan street, New York City police said Tuesday.
The woman, 65, was hospitalized with serious injuries after the attacker punched, kicked and stomped on her Monday in front of an apartment building on 43rd Street, police said. Staff in the building did not intervene, though a union representative said they called for help.
In a statement, NYPD called the incident “a hate crime assault” and said its Hate Crime Task Force was investigating.
Unsettling surveillance video shows the woman passing the building’s open front doors when the attacker appears in the frame and immediately kicks her, knocking her to the ground. The man kicks and stomps on the woman multiple times before walking away.
The incident occurred just before noon on Monday. NYPD released photos of the suspect Tuesday, seeking tips from the public about the attack.
The woman was taken to NYU Langone Hospital and was in stable condition, police said. She was discharged Tuesday evening, a hospital spokesperson said. Her name has not been released.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident “absolutely disgusting and outrageous” and said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” de Blasio said Tuesday at a news conference. “If you see someone being attacked, do whatever you can. Make noise. Call out what’s happening. Go and try and help. Immediately call for help. Call 911. This is something where we all have to be part of the solution. We can’t just stand back and watch a heinous act happening.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the attack “horrifying and repugnant” and offered the NYPD assistance from the state police’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told NY1 that the attack was “disgusting.”
“I don’t know who attacks a 65-year-old woman and leaves her on the street like that,” Shea said in an interview with the TV station.
“This is absolutely vile. These attacks against Asian-American New Yorkers must end. Hate has no place here and we must always call it out when we see it,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted.
In a statement, the Brodsky Organization, the apartment building’s management company, said it suspended the staff members who did not intervene in the incident, pending an investigation.
“The Brodsky Organization condemns all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia and violence against the Asian American community,” the company said.
In a statement, the head of the union representing the building workers disputed the allegation that they did not act and said the workers called for help immediately.
“Our union is working to get further details for a more complete account and urges the public to avoid a rush to judgment while the facts are determined,” union President Kyle Bragg said.
The incident follows a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 3,795 incidents were reported to Stop AAPI Hate from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. The organization said that number is “only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur.”
This month, a gunman opened fire at three Atlanta-area spas, killing eight people, mostly women of Asian descent.
In the wake of the shootings, donations to Asian American and Pacific Islander groups spiked. About $24 million was pledged by nearly 30 philanthropic donors, according to an Associated Press review of an analysis by the philanthropy research group Candid.
Contributing: The Associated Press