New York Authorities Arrest Assailant of Asian American Woman

A parolee convicted of killing his mother nearly two decades ago has been arrested on charges including felony assault as a hate crime for attacking an Asian American woman near Times Square, New York police said Wednesday. 

Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, was seen on video kicking and stomping on an Asian American woman Monday. They said Elliot was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks away from the attack. 

Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002, when he was 19 years old. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on lifetime parole. 

He now faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault due to Monday’s attack. 

The victim has been identified as Vilma Kari, a 65-year-old woman who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, her daughter told the New York Times. 

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Manuel Romualdez, said the victim is a Filipino American. 

The country’s foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr., spoke out against the attack on Twitter, saying, “This is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy.” 

While Locsin did not elaborate on how the attack would influence Philippine policy towards the United States, he did say, “I might as well say it, so no one on the other side can say, ‘We didn’t know you took racial brutality against Filipinos at all seriously.’ We do.” 

Kari was walking to church in midtown Manhattan when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, knocked her on the ground, and stomped on her face. He shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her, “you don’t belong here,” before casually walking away. 

She was discharged from the hospital Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said. 

The attack Monday was the latest in a string of national anti-Asian hate crimes, happening just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women. The violence has been partially linked to the Trump administration’s racially charged use of terms like the “China virus” and misplaced blame for the coronavirus.

Many have also criticized the bystanders in the incident, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying, “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker.” 

Two workers were inside a luxury apartment building at the time of the attack, witnessed on surveillance footage watching the attack but neglecting to come to the woman’s aid. One of them was seen closing the building door as the woman was thrown to the ground. The attack was able to casually walk away while the two onlookers watched, the video showed. 

The building’s management company has since said the two security guards have been suspended pending an investigation. The workers’ union said they called for help immediately. 

This year there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim in New York City. By this time last year, there were only 11 attacks with Asian victims in New York City.

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