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An Asian woman had to use a wine bottle she was carrying to fend off an attacker with a hammer while walking down the streets of New York City with a friend Sunday night.
The attacker, who was caught on street-cam video, started following the 31-year-old woman, who has not been publicly identified, and her friend, who’s also Asian, around 8:40 p.m. in West Manhattan. According to police, the assailant demanded the two take off their masks. Then, the attacker can be seen on the footage repeatedly coming at the two women with the hammer at least four times, with so much force that both of the attacker’s shoes fall off, before dropping the hammer and walking away.
The two friends were able to walk away from the scene after the 30-second attack, but one of the strikes caused a “laceration” on the 31-year-old’s head, according to police.
“I’ve lived here for two years, and I never faced this kind of thing,” the victim told NBC New York. “This has never happened in my life."
In the street cam footage, a bystander can be seen sweeping the street with a broom as the attacker walks away in a slightly different direction. The NYPD is still searching for the attacker, and the assault is being investigated as a hate crime, according to the NYPD.
The attack on the women comes just one day after two other assaults on Asian Americans in New York City—less than five minutes apart.
First, a 15-year-old Asian American boy was sitting in a Flushing park Saturday around 3 p.m. when a group of three teens approached him and yelled, “What the fuck you looking at, Ching Chong?” When the victim asked his attackers to leave, they began punching him in the head. The 15-year-old was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition, according to the New York Post.
His alleged attackers, aged 18, 15, and 14, have been charged with misdemeanor assault and harassment. The NYPD is considering adding hate crime charges as well, according to the New York Post.
Then, a 52-year-old Chinese woman was nearly pushed into the subway tracks twice by an unknown female assailant in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn at 3:25 p.m. the same day. According to police, the woman said she would have fallen onto the train tracks if not for a bystander who caught her both times.
Both attacks occurred while a “Rise Against Hate” rally was happening in Flushing, Queens, where hundreds gathered to condemn the sharp rise in anti-AAPI violence across the country over the past year during the pandemic. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino, anti-Asian hate crimes rose 149% from 2019 to 2020, and the majority of the attacks have occurred in coastal cities, like New York, and are aimed primarily at the elderly.
“We gather here today to talk about the hate that has been aimed at our Asian American community, and the racism and the bigotry,” said Rep. Grace Meng of New York at the event. “We as an Asian American community can not only come out when the racism is aimed at us. We have to come out when any other community is hurt.”