Brooklyn man charged with hate crime after attack on Asian woman

A Brooklyn man who allegedly punched an elderly Asian American woman in the face in an unprovoked attack and later told police that "Chinese people are not supposed to be in this country," has been indicted on hate crime charges.

Mercel Jackson, 52, was arraigned Thursday on charges including assault, attempted assault as a hate crime and menacing as a hate crime in the Jan. 19 attack, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced.

"This cowardly attack against a vulnerable member of our community will not be tolerated in Brooklyn," Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez said. "We will continue to work with our partners in communities across the borough to take a strong stand against hate crimes and pledge to bring to justice those who attack individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation."

According to authorities, on January 19 at around 9:20 a.m., on Classon Avenue near Greene Street in Clinton Hill, the victim, a 67-year-old Asian woman, was walking to the store when she heard yelling and saw Jackson walking towards her. 

Jackson then allegedly approached the woman and punched her in the face three times, causing bruising and swelling. 

Police responded and arrested Jackson after canvassing the area. He allegedly told police that Chinese people are not supposed to be in this country and that Chinese people are "a funny looking character" and "they look like the measles."

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Jackson was ordered held on $2,000 bail. A spokesperson for the Legal Aid Society of New York, which is representing him, said the organization had no comment.

The assault was one of a string of attacks on people of Asian descent in New York City, including the fatal stabbing of Christina Yuna Lee in her lower Manhattan apartment on Sunday. Police arrested a man who they said stabbed Lee after following her into her building.

With the Associated Press.