The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating two more apparent bias attack involving Asian victims, the latest in a series of confrontations that have involved threats, punches and one brutal stomach-stomp near Times Square.
Police said the attack in question happened shortly before 8 p.m. March 26 in a Home Depot on Gateway Drive in Brooklyn. A stranger walked up to a 28-year-old male victim and his girlfriend and made anti-Asian statements before picking up a piece of wood and saying, "I'll cut you," police said.
The suspect then ran out the front door. No injuries were reported.
In the second recent case, which was reported in Manhattan Wednesday, a 25-year-old victim was sitting and talking to a friend outside an ice cream shop on Grand Street when a stranger walked up. That stranger made anti-Asian statements and slapped the victim in the face before fleeing. She refused medical attention at the scene.
The friend the victim was with, Andy Chen, told NBC New York that his friend is still shaken after the stranger was caught on security camera slapping her across the face. He said before the incident, he heard a woman yelling, and just assumed she wasn't talking to them.
The woman started shouting expletives and yelling for her to "go back to her f-----g country." Chen believes that his friend was attacked simply because she was speaking Mandarin, and that those targeting Asians, particularly older Asian women, are doing so because they are "picking on those who won't fight back."
The NYPD's Rapid Response Team returned to the Lower East Side community for the second time in a week Thursday, saying their focus is on areas where these types of attacks are occurring. But Chen said hate against the AAPI community and a rise in hate crimes is a much larger societal issue, one which more foot patrols alone cannot solve.
"These people need more social work, some education, some sort of program to stop this," he said.
Anyone with information on either case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.
A day before the NYPD announced this attack, a man was arrested for allegedly attacking three Asian victims in Brooklyn. In one of those cases, a 77-year-old man was standing outside a supermarket looking at vegetables when he was shoved to the ground. The suspect walked away; no words were exchanged.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been up in New York City and across the nation in recent weeks. Earlier this week, two doormen who allegedly witnessed a brutal beating of a 65-year-old Asian American woman near Times Square last month and did nothing to help were fired, their former employer said.