NEW YORK (AP) â€” The suspect wanted in an attack of an Asian American woman near New York Cityâ€™s Times Square has been arrested and charged with felony assault as a hate crime, police said early Wednesday.
The arrest comes after the man was seen on videoÂ kicking and stomping the womanÂ on Monday. In a statement, police identified him as Brandon Elliot, 38, and said the New York City man was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack.
He faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault, police said. It wasnâ€™t immediately known whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002, when he was 19. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on lifetime parole.
The 65-year-old woman, whose name has not been made public, was walking to church in midtown Manhattan, a few blocks from Times Square, when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, stomped on her face, shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her, â€œyou donâ€™t belong hereâ€ before casually walking away.
The woman was discharged from the hospital Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.
The attack Monday was among the latest in a national spike in anti-AsianÂ hate crimes, and happened just weeks after aÂ mass shootingÂ in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent. The surge in violence has been linked in part to misplaced blame for the coronavirus and former President Donald Trumpâ€™s use of racially charged terms like â€œChinese virus.â€
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Mondayâ€™s attack â€œabsolutely disgusting and outrageous.â€ He said it was â€œabsolutely unacceptableâ€ that witnesses did not intervene.
â€œI donâ€™t care who you are, I donâ€™t care what you do, youâ€™ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,â€ de Blasio said, evoking the post-9/11 mantra of â€œsee something, say something.â€
The attack happened late Monday morning outside an apartment building two blocks from Times Square.
Two workers inside the building who appeared to be security guards were seen on surveillance video witnessing the attack but failing to come to the womanâ€™s aid. One of them was seen closing the building door as the woman was on the ground. The attacker was able to casually walk away while onlookers watched, the video showed.
The buildingâ€™s management company said they were suspended pending an investigation. The workersâ€™ union said they called for help immediately.
â€œIf you see someone being attacked, do whatever you can,â€ de Blasio said. â€œMake noise. Call out whatâ€™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 canâ€™t just stand back and watch a heinous act happening.â€
Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, said the victim â€œcould easily have been my mother.â€ He too criticized the bystanders, saying their inaction was â€œexactly the opposite of what we need here in New York City.â€
This year in New York City there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim as of Sunday, police said. There were 11 such attacks by the same time last year.
On Friday, in the same neighborhood as Mondayâ€™s attack, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was accosted by a man waving an unknown object and shouting anti-Asian insults. A 48-year-old man was arrested the next day and charged with menacing. He is not suspected in Mondayâ€™s attack.
The NYPDâ€™s Hate Crime Task Force has asked anyone with information to contact the departmentâ€™s confidential hot line orÂ submit tips online.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced last week that the department would increase outreach and patrols in predominantly Asian communities, including the use ofÂ undercover officersÂ to prevent and disrupt attacks.
The neighborhood where Mondayâ€™s attack occurred, Hellâ€™s Kitchen, is predominantly white, with an Asian population of less than 20%, according to city demographic data.
Shea called Mondayâ€™s attack â€œdisgusting,â€ telling TV station NY1: â€œI donâ€™t know who attacks a 65-year-old woman and leaves her on the street like that.â€
According to a report from Stop AAPI Hate, more than 3,795 incidents were reported to the organization from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28. The group, which tracks incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., said that number is â€œonly a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur.â€
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