WARNING: This story contains descriptions of violence that some may find disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
Authorities in New York City are looking for one suspect after a 65-year-old woman was kicked to the ground and beaten on her way to church on Monday in what police say was an “anti-Asian” assault.
The incident happened at 11:40 a.m. on Monday outside an apartment building in Manhattan, according to the New York Police Department. A security camera in the apartment building’s lobby captured the attack as it happened just outside the entrance. Police released the video on Monday night.
In the video, the woman can be seen strolling past the building before she is suddenly attacked by the suspect, who comes at her from the opposite direction. She stops and the man immediately steps toward her and kicks her in the torso, causing her to stagger back and fall to the ground. The man then appears to kick her in the head multiple times before stepping over her and walking away.
“F— you, you don’t belong here,” the man told the woman, according to ABC 7.
Police say the unidentified man “punched and kicked her about the body and made anti-Asian statements.”
They are now seeking information in the case, and have offered a $2,500 reward. Authorities have also released photos of the suspect that were captured by another security camera in the area.
The woman was on her way to church at the time of the attack, ABC 7 reports. She was taken to hospital and treated for a fractured pelvis.
A security guard who was in the apartment building at the time of the incident has since been suspended, after video showed him closing the door on the victim after she was attacked.
The NYPD is investigating the case as a hate crime, amid a recent push to crack down on anti-Asian violence in the city.
“Asian Americans for too long in this country have been shamefully scapegoated because of ignorant fear,” New York Rep. Grace Meng said at a vigil after the beating. “That is the history of this country.”
The incident is the latest in a wave of anti-Asian attacks that have played out across North America over the last year, as some have sought to blame the Asian community for the COVID-19 pandemic. Some politicians, most notably former U.S. president Donald Trump, helped fuel that sentiment by referring to it as the “China Virus” and the “Kung Flu.”
Anti-Asian hate crime spiked by nearly 150 per cent in America’s 16 largest cities last year, even as overall cases fell by seven per cent, according to an analysis of police data by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Visible minorities in Canada have also seen a perceived surge in harassment or attacks based on race since the pandemic began, according to a report from Statistics Canada last July. Perceived cases of harassment have tripled against minorities overall, with Chinese people facing the greatest surge, according to the data.
Calls to “stop Asian hate” circulated widely on social media this month after eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in a string of spa shootings in Georgia on March 17. That incident happened on the same day that an elderly Asian woman was beaten on the street in San Francisco in an unrelated, unprovoked assault.
“We have to change our hearts,” said U.S. President Joe Biden after a meeting on Anti-Asian hate on March 19. “Hate can have no safe harbour in America.”
— With files from The Associated Press