NY cops charge man suspected of brutal attack on Asian-American woman

NEW YORK: The police have arrested a man suspected of attacking an elderly Asian woman in New York City and charged him with felony assault as a hate crime, the police department said on Twitter.

The Washington Post reported that a separate police statement named the 38-year-old suspect and said he was already on lifetime parole for murdering his mother.

The New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Force had been looking for the assailant since Monday afternoon.

The attack, which took place on a sidewalk in broad daylight in Midtown Manhattan on Monday, was caught on closed-circuit television footage from inside an adjacent building.

In the video posted online by the police, the man is seen walking up to the 65-year-old woman and kicking her in the stomach, knocking her down. He then kicks her several times in the head before walking away.

The video also shows a man, who appears to be a delivery worker, watching the attack from inside the building. He is then joined by two other men, one of whom closes the door instead of helping the woman as the attacker walks away.

The attacker also made anti-Asian statements. He yelled an obscenity at her, according to the police, and then said, "You don't belong here", The New York Times reported, adding that the woman is a Filipina.

The incident is one among many rising hate crimes against Asian Americans. Such crimes rose by 149 per cent last year in 16 major cities compared with 2019, according to the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration on Tuesday announced a set of measures responding to rising anti-Asian violence, including deploying US$49.5 million (S$66 million) from Covid-19 relief funds for US community programmes that help victims.

White House officials said in a statement that the Department of Justice is focusing on a rising number of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.

"We can't be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans," Mr Biden wrote on Twitter. "These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop."

The measures come after a shooting in Atlanta earlier this month left eight people dead, six of them Asian American women. - REUTERS, AFP