Police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of brutally attacking a 65-year old Asian woman in New York in an alleged hate crime, the New York Police Department said on Twitter, just a day after a disturbing video of the assault was shared online that underscored the increase in attacks and hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
In a statement shared on Twitter, the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit thanked the public for its assistance in the investigation and said the suspect has been charged with “Felony Assault as a Hate Crime.”
The man arrested is 38-year old Brandon Elliot who was already on lifetime parole after being released from prison in 2019 for murdering his mother, the Washington Post reported, citing a statement from the police.
Elliot was arrested at around 1.10 a.m. on Wednesday in Manhattan.
According to WNBC, the woman—who has been identified as Vilma Kari—was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries.
The surveillance footage of the attack caused outrage after it showed three bystanders inside a luxury apartment who did not intervene or assist the woman during or after the attack. “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said, calling the bystanders’ actions “absolutely unacceptable.”
The attack took place at around 11:40 a.m. on Monday on a sidewalk outside a luxury apartment building in Midtown Manhattan. The attacker first kicked the woman in the stomach, knocking her to the ground, and then stomped on her head and upper body several times while yelling anti-Asian slurs and told her, “you don’t belong here,” according to WNBC. The developer of the building outside which the attack took place issued a statement on Instagram announcing it had suspended two of its staff members who stood by and witnessed the attack. Asian-Americans have faced a growing wave of hate crime that has intensified since the start of the pandemic last year. On Tuesday, the White House announced a set of new initiatives to address the issue. This includes the reinstatement of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), with an initial focus on anti-Asian bias and violence, along with $49.5 million in funding to programs helping AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally the National Science Foundation will spend $33 million to study bias and xenophobia.