NEW YORK - The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force has been busy investigating a rising surge of anti-Asian attacks in the city.
New reports keep coming in, most recently Thursday morning, of police releasing new surveillance video of a 25-year-old Asian woman getting slapped in the face by an unidentified woman in her 30s. Police say it happened Wednesday night.
The suspect made anti-Asian statements to her victim who is sitting, talking to her friend on the Lower East Side. The suspect then slaps the woman in the face and walked away.
Also on Wednesday, two men from Brooklyn were arrested for their roles in recent hate crimes against our Asian community.
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Please took in Gregory Jacques,33, from Brooklyn, charging him with assault and reckless endangerment. Please say it happened Saturday when a store employee confronted Jacques after he tried to steal merchandise from a convenience store in Manhattan. That’s when Jacques started yelling anti-Asian statements, then hitting the employee several times in the face. While please haven’t yet charged Jacques with a hate crime, they’re looking into it.
The same day, police also arrested Joseph Russo, 27, of Brooklyn and charged him with assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Russo had been wanted for two separate attacks. The first, happened last month when police say Russo assaulted a 32-year-old woman, pulling her by the hair and dragging her along Kings Highway in Brooklyn.
Then on Monday, Russo pushed a 77-year-old man to the ground, injuring the man’s arm, as the victim was looking at vegetables for sale at a supermarket in Sheepshead Bay. Russo just kept on walking like nothing happened.
This pair of arrests, happening on the same day a "Stop the Hate" rally was held in the Bronx. Collective voices of clergy, elected officials, and community groups came together to express their outrage and demand all New Yorkers do their part.
"We have community members who are arming themselves with mace, with spikes, with anything they can get their hands on. They’re afraid of what will happen to them when they're trying to live their lives," said Alice Wong.
"This is not normal.. you have a responsibility to take action when you see something happening in your community because it could easily be someone you love," said City Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
At least 38 reported anti-Asian hate crimes have occurred in New York City to date. Last year at this time, the number was zero.