Asian man’s family heartbroken by East Harlem assault

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EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — The wife of Yao Pan Ma stood quietly Tuesday, her face covered by a mask and hat.

Baozhen Chen didn’t speak at a press conference at the spot where her husband was brutally attacked Friday, but it was clear she was traumatized.

“The Ma family understands this is the act of a single depraved individual. It has nothing to do with the community at large,” family spokesperson Karlin Chen said.

Yao Pan Ma remained in a medically induced coma as the community rallied to support him in East Harlem. The 61-year-old was collecting cans Friday at 125th Street and 3rd Avenue when he was pushed to the ground and his head was repeatedly kicked.

“Get out of this neighborhood if you want to do that. We are not going to accept that here in Harlem or East Harlem,” Congressman Adriano Espaillat said of the attacker.

The NYPD arrested Jarrod Powell, 49, early Tuesday. He was charged with attempted murder and two counts of hate crime assault. 

Powell was led from the 25th precinct Tuesday morning. He told reporters, “I was Maced.” Police said the alleged attacker, Powell, is homeless. 

“I want to thank the person who was at the homeless shelter on Wards Island who noticed Mr. Powell and alerted the authorities,” Harlem State Sen. Brian Benjamin said.

This is the latest in a string of attacks against the Asian community.

“We come here to say stop targeting, scapegoating, and killing Asian Americans,” Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim said.

Jennifer Wu, the Ma family’s attorney, said, “We are heartbroken by the attack against Mr. Ma and the surge of attacks against the Asian-American community.”

Ma had lost his job as a dishwasher during the pandemic. He was collecting cans to support his family when he was attacked. A GoFundMe has been set up for the Ma family.

Resources for victims and anyone who witnesses a possible hate crime have been gathered by THE CITY, a local nonprofit news outlet.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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