LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) — A Florida woman was indicted Thursday for allegedly pepper-spraying four women of Asian descent in the Meatpacking District while asking why they didn’t “go back to [their] country,” according to authorities.
Madeline Barker, 47, is charged in New York State Supreme Court with assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment for the June 11 run-in on Hudson Street between West 13th and 14th streets, prosecutors said Thursday.
Barker, of Merritt Island, Fla., allegedly pepper-sprayed the women simply because they were standing near where she was sitting, officials said.
“Why don’t you just go back to your country?” Barker allegedly asked, just one of the racially offensive remarks made during the incident according to prosecutors.
Barker, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
“Hearing the hateful and discriminatory words, ‘go back to your country’ is deeply painful and these women allegedly heard them before enduring the physical pain of Ms. Barker’s pepper spray,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in part in a statement. “These bias-driven incidents have no place in Manhattan.”
In his statement, Bragg also touted his office’s Wednesday indictment of a man who allegedly assaulted two Asian women at Midtown’s Rockefeller Center train station while shouting racial slurs.
Bragg encouraged anyone who has been a victim of a bias attack to call his office’s Hate Crime Hotline at 1-212-335-3100.