An Asian American couple in New York City says they were verbally attacked by a stranger who told them to "go back to China" over the weekend.
The police department's Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident that occurred near East 22nd Street and 1st Avenue on Sunday, according to a spokesperson. The victim, 25-year-old Maria Ha, captured part of the incident on video, which has gone viral and is being used as one example of many racist attacks against people of Asian descent in the U.S. that have significantly increased over the past year.
Ha says she and her partner were on their way to a photoshoot that Sunday afternoon when a woman allegedly got up in her face and said, "You're not from here. Go back to communist China, b----."
That part of the alleged verbal attack wasn't captured on video but the footage shows the woman attempting to leave the scene in a yellow cab. Ha's partner confronted the woman and tried to get her to repeat what she allegedly told them.
WARNING: The video below contains expletives.
“Did you just tell us 'go to communist China b----," the 31-year-old victim asked the woman. She replied, "Oh, isn't that where you're from?" The victim told her that they're from the U.S.
The woman, who has not been identified, repeatedly screamed "you're assaulting me" as she tried to close the cab's door and get away. The male victim then said, "I'm not touching you."
Ha says she posted the video online to show that this type of behavior should not be condoned.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 3,800 racist incidents against people of Asian descent were reported, according to Stop AAPI Hate. While many of them end in the victims being physically injured (or even killed), verbal attacks are the most common, making up 68.1% of the reports.