Anti-Asian hate crime suspect targeted undercover officer on patrol in Midtown: NYPD

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File photo of an NYPD police cruiser (PIX11 News)

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan — An undercover officer with the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force arrested a man who yelled anti-Asian statements and threats near Penn Station on Friday, according to the NYPD.

The plainclothes officer was on patrol near West 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue around 1:10 p.m. when he was approached by a man who shouted, “Go back to China before you end up in a f—–g graveyard. I’m going to slap the holy p— out of you and stab you in the face,” a police spokesperson told PIX11 News on Saturday.

The officer approached another officer from the Midtown South Precinct who was able to arrest the suspect, identified as Juvian Rodriguez, without incident, authorities said.

Rodriguez, 35, was charged with harassment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, menacing as a hate crime and criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to the NYPD.

Police said Rodriguez, who has two dozen prior arrests for alleged narcotics and assault offenses, had a crack pipe in his possession.

It’s the second arrest this week by an undercover officer working with the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, according to the NYPD. On Tuesday, an officer stepped in and made an arrest during an anti-Asian incident in Chinatown, authorities said.

The NYPD recently stepped up patrols in Chinatown and other neighborhoods amid a spike in anti-Asian attacks, including a brutal assault on a 65-year-old woman that was caught on video.

The department also deployed undercover Asian police officers and added two more detectives to its Asian Hate Crimes Task Force.

“The next person you target — whether it’s through speech, menacing activity or anything else, walking along a sidewalk or on a train platform — may be a plainclothes New York City police officer. So think twice,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at the time.

If you or someone you know are experiencing anti-Asian hate, click here for resources.

Anyone who witnesses an incident can also find out more information on bystander intervention by clicking here.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.

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