MIDTOWN MANHATTAN — Police were seeking to identify a man accused of punching and kicking a woman as he made anti-Asian remarks toward her Monday, officials said.
The incident occurred shortly before 12 p.m. at West 43rd Street and Ninth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, according to police.
Authorities said a 65-year-old woman was approached by a suspect who punched and kicked her, causing her to fall to the ground; he also made anti- Asian statements toward her.
After the victim fell to the ground, the suspect continued to kick her multiple times before fleeing the scene, officials said.
Law enforcement sources said the man told the victim “you don’t belong here,” along with other anti-Asian comments, as she was on her way to church.
The victim sustained serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, police said.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.
Building staff seen in the video are also facing some scrutiny for not seemingly doing enough immediately after the attack.
In the footage, a man inside a building lobby seemingly stopped what he was doing to watch the assault. Later, two more men wearing blazers walked into the frame and one of them closed the door as the woman was on the ground.
Building owner The Brodsky Organization condemned the attack in a statement late Monday night and said that building staff who witnessed the attack were “suspended pending an investigation in conjunction with their union.”
The developer also said it was working to identify a third-party delivery worker who was allegedly present during the incident, “so that appropriate action can be taken.”
SEIU 32BJ, the union representing the door staff of the building, said Tuesday that the staff members “called for help immediately.”
“Our union is working to get further details for a more complete account, and urge the public to avoid a rush to judgement while the facts are determined,” union President Kyle Bragg said in a statement, while also condemning the “appalling” incident.
The attack comes on the heels of several attacks on Asian New Yorkers.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called Monday’s attack “disgusting.”
There have been at least 28 anti-Asian incidents this year, including at least 13 assaults, compared with eight at the same time last year, according to data from Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Monday, a Twitter user posted disturbing video of an attack on a New York City subway; it shows a man beating an Asian rider relentlessly before choking him until he appears to be unconscious.
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 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).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.