A woman allegedly made anti-Asian remarks and pepper-sprayed four people in New York City over the weekend, authorities said.
The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force, which is investigating the incident, released several photos and a video of the woman they believe carried out the assaults Saturday in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The video does not contain audio.
In the video, the suspect is seen brandishing what appears to be pepper-spray. The NYPD said she pepper-sprayed four women during the altercation. The women refused medical attention, according to a news release from police.
At some point during the altercation, not captured in the video that NYPD released, an unidentified Asian man passed the group on the sidewalk, NYPD Sergeant Anwar Ishmael told CNN. The woman allegedly turned to him and said, “You take all your b***hes back to where you came from,” Ishmael said.
Hate crimes, including those against Asians, have seen a sharp increase in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic sparked attacks against Asians amid online and political rhetoric stigmatizing them, but this category of hate crime is often underreported.
Between March 31, 2021, and March 31, 2022, 110 of 577 hate crime incidents targeted Asians, according to the NYPD Hate Crimes Dashboard. In March 2022 alone, there were nine incidents treated as hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, with five arrests.
Overall, the FBI report noted that more than 10,000 people reported to law enforcement that they were the victim of a hate crime because of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or disability. The agency has not released data for 2021.
And despite the concerning increase in such crimes, a small percentage of reported attacks against Asians end up in convictions.
A report from the Asian American Bar Association of New York found that of the 233 reported attacks against Asian Americans in New York City in the first three quarters of 2021, seven led to hate crime convictions as of late May.
From March 2020 to December 2021, 10,905 hate incidents were reported to “Stop AAPI Hate,” a nonprofit organization that tracks self-reported incidents of anti-AAPI discrimination and hate, with 4,632 reported in 2020 and 6,273 in 2021, according to the AABANY report published in May.
CNN’s Emily Chang contributed to this report.