Police in New York are investigating a suspected hate crime against an Asian woman who was called racist slurs and physically attacked by a man as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the victim, who asked to remain anonymous, the assault took place on Sunday morning in the Rego Park neighborhood. She and her wife were on their way home with masks on from grocery shopping when they saw a white man walking toward them without wearing a mask. In order to practice social distancing, they stepped aside on the walkway to let him pass.
Probably taking offense at the woman’s behavior, the man approached her and yelled: “You stupid Asian. Stupid b***h c**t. You brought the virus here!”
The victim confronted the assailant, asking him to stop verbally attacking her and her partner. But he proceeded to charge at them and toss their groceries on the street. When the victim attempted to take a picture of him, the man grabbed her phone and smashed it to the ground, causing it to break.
The attacker fled the scene after a passerby called the police. By the time the police arrived, the man had disappeared. The victim suffered minor injuries — bruises.
“I was shocked and felt helpless at first,” the victim told SupChina. “I think he is emboldened by the attacks that have been happening around this virus thing.”
The assault is one of a number of incidents in which Asian people have been attacked or harassed in the U.S. during the COVID-19 outbreak, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Since then, the number of reports of bigotry and hate crimes against Asians in the country have skyrocketed to 100 per day on average. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, repeatedly referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and associating it with Asian Americans, has further fueled the anti-Asian sentiment across the country.
In New York, there have been a string of reports of Asians encountering hate crimes in public. In March, a 26-year-old Asian man who was waiting for the subway in Brooklyn was spat on by a stranger who blamed him for the coronavirus and threatened to shoot him. Earlier this month, an Asian woman in Brooklyn suffered chemical burns when someone sneaked up on her outside of her Borough Park home when she was taking out her trash.