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A Video Shows A Man Suddenly Hitting An Asian Woman In NYC's Chinatown

Security camera footage tweeted by New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou shows a man attacking a woman of Asian descent on a New York City sidewalk.
Screenshot by NPR
Security camera footage tweeted by New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou shows a man attacking a woman of Asian descent on a New York City sidewalk.

A man has been arrested after an unprovoked attack on a woman of Asian descent on Monday in New York City's Chinatown.

The incident was highlightedon Twitter by New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, who represents some Lower Manhattan neighborhoods, including Chinatown. The disturbing footage is included in the tweet.

Security camera video from Monday evening shows people walking on a sidewalk next to a restaurant's outdoor seating. A woman walks in from the right of frame while a man coming from the opposite direction swings his left arm wide, hitting her in the face. The force of the hit knocks her hat off. She is knocked off balance, collapses and sits motionless. The man lifts his arm, apparently at onlookers, says something and then continues to stand nearby while a crowd comes to the woman's aid.

The 55-year-old victim was taken to a hospital in stable condition, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department said.

Police said a 48-year-old Manhattan man was apprehended near where the attack took place. A police spokesperson said he was charged with assault as a hate crime, assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was taken to Bellevue hospital for evaluation, according to police.

Assembly Member Niou says the woman is now doing "OK."

"But we all know how much trauma she will have from this and how much trauma our community is having," she says. "I'm heartbroken seeing how many of these incidents keep happening...we are humans too."

While reported hate crimes against people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent went up in several cities in 2020, the most marked increase was in New York City, where three incidents reported in 2019 rose to 28 reported in 2020. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino reported the numbers in New York City have increased again in the first quarter of 2021: from 13 in the first three months of 2020 to 42 in the first three months of 2021.

The numbers could be an undercount, as authorities say many incidents are not reported.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for NPR.org and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.