Hate crime eyed in attack on clerk at East Harlem bodega

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EAST HARLEM, Manhattan -- Surveillance video obtained by PIX11 News on Friday shows a vicious attack inside of an East Harlem bodega and police are investigating whether the assault was a hate crime.

The video shows a man walking into the Green Olive Deli on East 116th Street. He says something to the clerk behind the counter then, seemingly out of nowhere, punches him and runs out of the store.

Workers told PIX11 News the attacker asked them if they were Arabic before he threw the punch.

“It’s crazy,” said one worker who did not want to be named. “He’s not supposed to do that. This is the first time something like this happened.”

The victim, a man in his 30s, is recovering.

Police say this man attacked a clerk on Aug. 9, 2018, at Green Olive Deli on East 116th Street in East Harlem. He allegedly asked the worker if he was "Arabic," then punched him. (NYPD)

But the alleged racist rage did not end at the bodega. According to a woman who works at a nearby fruit stand, he went after her, too. She quickly called 911.

“He said to me, 'You f---ing Mexican,'" she said.

The attacks happened the morning of Aug. 9. The NYPD’s hate crime unit is investigating.

Residents say they're disgusted.

“That’s just wrong and disrespectful. There’s no reason to hit anyone. That’s just out of line,” Ariana Rivera said.

Anthony Englesbobb said that “people are ignorant. Racism is still alive.”

Police released surveillance video of the man after he left the deli with a call to the public to help identify him.

Anyone with information is urged to call NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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