A woman wearing a surgical mask was attacked by a man on a Manhattan subway platform who called her “diseased,” video posted to social media shows.
The video starts with the woman in the mask, the same kind that have become more commonly seen since the coronavirus outbreak, seemingly running toward the eventual attacker, who appears to be heading to the stairs to exit the station near Chinatown. It was not clear what happened before the recording, but it appeared that it took place following a precious altercation on the subway.
After approaching the one of the men, the attackers hit and kick the woman, with the person who posted the video saying one of the attackers called the victim a “diseased b---h.”
The person who shared the video said the attack occurred at the Grand Street subway station on Sunday.
While it was not clear what the motive was behind the attack, many in the community said they were concerned because it could potentially be a hate crime related to the coronavirus. Some said are now scared to wear the surgical masks in public now, fearing similar things could happen.
At a previously scheduled community meeting with the NYPD, police tried to ease the public’s concerns. “I want to assure everybody that we’re aware of what’s going on and our commitment is to protect everybody. So if anybody’s fearful that they’re being singled out or targeted we’re extra vigilant for it,” said NYPD Captain Paul Zangrilli.
Police said they have not seen any other attacks related to possible coronavirus discrimination. The victim who was attacked has not yet come forward, but cops said they would hold on to the video in case the woman does come forward and helps them launch a full investigation.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is looking into the incident as well.