EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) – A vigil was held in East Harlem for Yao Pan Ma, a man who died on New Year’s Eve after being in a coma for eight months. He was attacked in what police are calling a hate crime while trying to provide for his family.
The community is not only calling for justice in that case, but they are asking for more support, especially around mental health to address the rise in crime citywide.
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.
Bias attacks have plagued New York City along with the pandemic. Mayor Adams also acknowledged New Yorkers do not feel safe in the subway system, fighting that feat with increased patrols on the platforms.
The state’s top law enforcement officer wants New Yorkers to know those behind the attacks will be held accountable.
A funeral for Ma is being planned for next week.
Associated Press contributed to this report.