GARMENT DISTRICT, Manhattan — A man threatened a woman and made anti-Asian statements in Manhattan Friday evening, police said.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force launched an investigation into the incident, which took place on West 40th Street in the Garment District around 4 p.m., authorities said.
The man shouted anti-Asian statements at the 65-year-old victim and then waved an unknown object at her, causing her to fear for her safety, according to the NYPD.
Police described the suspect as about 5’9″ tall with a medium build, a balding head and a beard.
The incident is the latest in a surge of violence against people of Asian descent in New York City and across the country.
There have been at least 26 additional anti-Asian incidents this year, including 12 assaults, compared with eight at the same time last year, according to Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
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. On Saturday, rallies will take place in Lower Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey.
The NYPD announced on Thursday 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.
Former President Donald Trump 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.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).