A 61-year-old Asian man is in critical condition after police in New York City said he was knocked to the ground and kicked multiple times in his head in a disturbing attack that comes just weeks after a similar assault on an Asian American woman near Times Square.
The victim identified by local news outlets as Yao Pan Ma was in East Harlem around 8:20 p.m. Friday when surveillance video released by police shows him being repeatedly stomped on while lying on the ground. The suspect then appears to casually walk away.
Ma, a former restaurant worker, had lost his job due to the pandemic and was out collecting cans to make ends meet at the time of the assault, his wife told the New York Post.
“My husband made fancy desserts in China,” Baozhen Chen told the paper. “We came here for the job opportunity two years ago. He lost his job because of COVID-19. So, he did whatever he could to help support and pay bills.”
She said her husband remains in a coma and she’s fearful that she may be hurt next. Her concerns follow a 65-year-old Asian American woman being similarly attacked in the city on March 29, leading to her hospitalization and hate crime charges. Nationwide, there has been a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic.
“I want the police to capture the person as soon as possible,” Chen said.
New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio promised justice for the man.
“Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said on Twitter.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said he has directed the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to help investigate the attack.
“This is not who we are as New Yorkers, and we will not let these cowardly acts of hate against members of our New York family intimidate us,” he said in a statement. “We stand united with the Asian American community which has always been an important part of our diverse identity as a state.”