NEW YORK (PIX11) – A man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the 2021 beating death of an Asian man in East Harlem, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced Friday. 

Jarrod Powell previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime in connection to the death of 61-year-old Yao Pan Ma. Powell admitted in his plea that he targeted Ma because he was Asian, Bragg said.

On April 23, 2021, Powell approached Ma from behind, knocked him to the ground, and repeatedly kicked him in the head near the corner of Third Avenue and East 125th Street. Ma was hospitalized with severe head trauma and died months later on Dec. 31, 2021. 

A former restaurant worker who lost his job because of the pandemic, Ma was collecting cans in the neighborhood when he was attacked. Surveillance video released by the police showed the attacker stomping on his head multiple times. A bus driver called 911.

Police arrested Powell several days later.

Karlin Chan, a community activist in New York City and a spokesman for Ma’s family, previously told the Associated Press that Ma never regained consciousness after the attack. Ma was moved in and out of multiple facilities during the past eight months, ultimately dying in a long-term care center run by The New Jewish Home, Chan said.

Bragg on Friday called the incident a “despicable racially motivated attack.”

“[Ma’s] family endured an agonizing eight months in the hospital while the devoted husband and father of two remained in a vegetative state, before succumbing to his injuries on Dec. 31, 2021,” Bragg said. “New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and no one should have to fear that they may be in danger because of their background. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that New Yorkers of all origins feel safe.”

The attack on Ma took place during a horrific spike in anti-Asian assaults in New York City and across the country in 2020 and 2021. Currently, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has 39 open hate crime cases related to anti-Asian hate.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.