Man brutally beaten in East Harlem hate crime attack dies months after assault: NYPD

Manhattan
east harlem hate crime attack victim and suspect

Yao Pan Ma, left, was brutally beaten in an alleged anti-Asian hate crime attack on April 23, 2021. He died on Dec. 31, 2021, police said. Jarrod Powell, right, was charged in the attack, according to police. (Credit: Ma family handout; PIX11)

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — A man who was repeatedly kicked in the head during an alleged hate crime attack in East Harlem last year died last week, months after the brutal assault, police said on Saturday.

Yao Pan Ma, 61, died on Dec. 31, police said, adding that his death was deemed a homicide.

Ma was hospitalized with severe head trauma on April 23, 2021, after he was pushed to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head near the corner of Third Avenue and East 125th Street, police said.

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.

Several days later, police arrested Jarrod Powell, 49, and charged him with attempted murder and two counts of assault as a hate crime. In the wake of Ma’s death, police had not updated charges against Powell, as of Sunday afternoon.

A family representative said the charges against Powell should now be enhanced.

“We’re calling on the District Attorney’s Office to upgrade the charges to murder now,” Karlin Chan, a community activist in New York City and a spokesman for Ma’s family, told The Associated Press. “We’re fighting for justice and I hope (Powell) never walks the streets as a free man. He needs to pay for what he did.”

Chan said Ma never regained consciousness after the attack and his condition continued to deteriorate over time. 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.

A funeral is being planned for sometime next week.

The Legal Aid Society, which previously represented Powell, said he is no longer a client. A message was left seeking comment with another attorney listed in court records as Powell’s lawyer.

The attack on Ma took place during a horrific spike in anti-Asian assaults in New York City and across the country last year. In response, the NYPD stepped up patrols in Asian communities, deployed undercover Asian police officers and added two more detectives to its Asian Hate Crimes Task Force.

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.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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