Video footage shared by a New York state lawmaker shows an Asian woman being punched in the face and knocked to the sidewalk for no apparent reason as she walked past a restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Yuh-Line Niou, the state assembly member who represents the district that includes Chinatown, said the video was sent to her by a constituent.
Several bystanders can be seen helping the woman after the attack, as she sat stunned on the ground against a pole. Niou said the victim was “conscious and cognizant and alert.” She was hospitalized at New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital in stable condition, according to police.
Alexander Wright, 48, was arrested nearby and was charged with assault as a hate crime, assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police took him to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation.
The attack took place just before 6:20 p.m. Monday on Bayard Street, an NYPD spokesperson told HuffPost.
“A 55-year-old female was approached by a male who punched her causing her to fall to the ground. The incident was unprovoked,” the NYPD said.
Warning: Video shows a violent assault.
The attack comes amid a wave of hate incidents reported by Asian people around the country, particularly in New York and California, which have significant Asian American populations. The pandemic, and anti-Asian rhetoric about its origins, has led to a rise in racially targeted violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over the past year.
Hate crimes targeting AAPIs rose by 150% in major cities last year, according to one study published in March. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of Asian American advocacy groups, recorded another steep rise in anti-Asian harassment and attacks around the same time, which the group attributed to increased national attention on anti-Asian hate, awareness of reporting resources, and the opening up of the country as COVID-19 restrictions lift.
A joint report published by Stop AAPI Hate, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Asian American Psychological Association last week featured findings from research projects that found Asian Americans who have experienced racism are most stressed by anti-Asian hate than the pandemic itself, and have heightened symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.