MANHATTAN — An assault of a 7-Eleven worker in Manhattan on Saturday is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to the NYPD.
The incident took place at around 6 a.m. at the 7-Eleven location on the corner of 8th Avenue and West 39th Street. A man suspected of stealing products was confronted by the employee, a 27-year-old Asian male. The man punched the employee in the face and then called him an anti-Asian slur after the assault, authorities said.
The victim refused medical attention at the scene. Police are investigating it as a possible hate crime.
This comes amid a surge of anti-Asian bias incidents and hate crimes across the metropolitan area.
Residents and activists have shown support for Asian communities and those affected by the violence at demonstrations across the city as well as in New Jersey.
The NYPD announced last week it planned to increase outreach and patrols in Asian communities.
The department is sending undercover officers to neighborhoods with significant Asian populations in an attempt to prevent and disrupt attacks, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The undercover officers are being trained and will be on patrol by the end of the weekend, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.
The NYPD started an Asian Hate Crime Task Force last year amid increasing attacks as the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States.
Political leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have repeatedly used xenophobic terms to refer to the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan province. Critics say the former president’s language stoked violence against Asian Americans and immigrants.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.