EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — The NYPD has released new, clearer surveillance images of a suspected attacker after a 61-year-old Asian man was left fighting for his life Friday night in East Harlem. Police said he was pushed to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head.
The man was collecting cans near the corner of Third Avenue and East 125th Street when he was attacked from behind, knocked to the ground and kicked in the head just after 8 p.m. Friday.
Surveillance video released by the police appears to show the attacker stomping on the victim’s head.
Police did not release the victim’s name, but multiple news outlets identified him as Yao Pan Ma, a former restaurant worker who lost his job because of the pandemic and was collecting cans to make ends meet.
Police originally said he was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical but stable condition, but his wife, Baozhen Chen, 57, said he was in a medically induced coma in an interview with the New York Post.
“Please capture him as soon as possible and make him pay,” Chen said in Mandarin through a translator.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the assault “outrageous” on Twitter.
“Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” de Blasio said Saturday.
The attack recalled last month’s assault near Times Square in which a woman who immigrated from the Philippines was knocked to the ground and stomped on by an attacker who shouted anti-Asian slurs. A parolee convicted of killing his mother nearly two decades ago was arrested in that attack.
The U.S. Senate passed legislation last week aimed at fighting the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The measure would expedite the review of hate crimes at the Justice Department and provide support for local law enforcement in response to thousands of reported violent incidents in the past year.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force launched an investigation into the attack. A police spokesperson told PIX11 on Saturday it remained unclear whether any anti-Asian statements were made during the beating.
The assault is the latest amid a spike in anti-Asian attacks that has gripped the city and the nation.
There were at least 62 anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police between Jan. 1 and April 18, compared to 12 reported during the same time period in 2020, according to NYPD data.
The NYPD has stepped up patrols in Asian communities across the city. The department also deployed undercover Asian police officers and added two more detectives to its Asian Hate Crimes Task Force.
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).