A man has been arrested in connection with a physical attack against an Asian American woman in Times Square in NYC on Monday (March 29).
Police say Brandon Elliot, 38, was the person captured on video kicking and stomping a 65-year-old Asian American woman in broad daylight. Elliot faces felony assault charges and the attack is being considered a hate crime, as reported by The Huffington Post.
According to authorities, the woman, who has not been publicly identified, was walking to church when Elliot kicked her in the stomach, knocking her to the ground and repeatedly stomped on her head. Elliot also reportedly said, “you don’t belong here,” to the woman before walking away.
Police said Elliot was living at a hotel in the area that is also a homeless shelter. Elliot was convicted of the stabbing death of his mother in 2002 in the Bronx when he was 19 years old. In 2019, Elliot was released from prison to serve lifetime parole.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the violent incident “absolutely disgusting and outrageous,” and said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that no one stepped in to help.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” the mayor said.
A surveillance video from an apartment building showed what appeared to be two security guards witnessing the attack, but not intervening. The video footage shows one of the workers closing the door to the building as the woman was still on the ground.
According to HuffPost, the guards have been suspended as an investigation is pending, the building's management company said. The guards’ workers’ union reported they immediately called authorities for help.
This attack marks the continued rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this month, a gunman opened fire in three Atlanta-area spas in a targeted attack that left eight people, including six Asian American women, dead.
The rise in anti-Asian violence has been attributed in part to former President Donald Trump’s continuous use of terms like “Chinese virus” in reference to the coronavirus.
NYC police officials said there have been 33 reported hate crimes against Asian people so far, marking a notable rise from last year’s 11 by the same time.
Organizations like Stop AAPI Hate are working to raise awareness about the rise in attacks.
Photo Credit: Getty Images