NEW YORK (PIX11) — Authorities have launched a search for the suspect who allegedly harassed an Asian woman in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon. Cops responded to a 911 call of harassment at the corner of East 57 Street and First Avenue in Midtown East around 1 p.m., police said.
When they arrived, a 25-year-old woman informed officers she was walking along First Avenue when an unknown man muttered something about the coronavirus and said “you don’t belong here” before he attempted to punch her, according to authorities. No injuries were reported.
The suspect is described to have long, braided hair and was last seen wearing all black and was seen walking a dog.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force has been notified about the incident. It’s the latest in a spike in crimes against the Asian American community.
There have been at least 54 anti-Asian hate crimes reported to the NYPD in 2021. Six of those incidents were motivated by COVID-19 with an Asian victim, cops said. At this time last year, there were 12 reported anti-Asian incidents, with 11 of them COVID-19 motivated, police said.
The NYPD is expected to continue its neighborhood outreach in Downtown Flushing on Wednesday, talking to people and educating them about how they can report such incidents and take safety measures to protect themselves and their businesses.
Lawmakers from New York have also introduced Asian hate crime legislation at the Capitol amid a recent rise in anti-Asian attacks, a growing problem during the coronavirus crisis that will also test whether the chamber can push past partisanship on an issue important to many constituents.
The Democratic-sponsored COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act might quickly face a filibuster, opposed by Republicans who prefer a different approach. But under the Senate leaders’ agreement struck at the start of the year, Republicans and Democrats pledged to at least try to debate bills to see if they could reach an agreement through the legislative process.