The New York City Police Department said it has made two hate crime arrests in the cases of victims who were targeted by assailants who made anti-Asian statements. The arrests come as Asian-Americans across the country are experiencing heightened discrimination, bullying and harassment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NYPD said it arrested 44-year-old Raoul Ramos and charged him with aggravated harassment as a hate crime after he allegedly harassed and pushed a 47-year-old man in Queens on Thursday. The victim, who did not want to be identified, told the New York Post he was walking his 10-year-old son to a bus stop when he was approached by a man who started screaming, "Where the [expletive] is your mask?"
The victim, who grew up in Hong Kong but has lived in the U.S. for 35 years, according to the Post, said that the man kept yelling, and that he was afraid the man would touch his son. The assailant followed the two to a bus stop, pushed the victim and then fled.
The NYPD has also arrested a 13-year-old boy who allegedly assaulted a 59-year-old man Tuesday night.
The NYPD said the teen approached the man from behind in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood. He then allegedly made anti-Asian statements and kicked the victim, causing him to fall to the ground. The suspect fled, and the victim refused medical attention at the scene, police said.
Sources told CBS New York that the teen suspect allegedly told the victim to go back to his country and mentioned the coronavirus. The sources said the same suspect attacked the victim on March 7, spitting in his face, referencing the coronavirus and making anti-Asian comments.
The teen was arrested after the NYPD circulated surveillance images and asked for help in identifying him. He is charged with assault and aggravated harassment as hate crimes, the NYPD told CBS News.
The NYPD is still searching for a suspect in another possible coronavirus-related hate crime in which a 23-year-old woman was punched in the face by another woman who made anti-Asian slurs before fleeing, the NYPD said.
The victim, who did not want to be identified, told WABC she was standing on the sidewalk outside the language school she attends in midtown Manhattan when the woman approached her.
"I remember exactly what she said," the victim, a Korean student, told WABC. "She said, Where is your [expletive] mask, you coronavirus [expletive.]" The victim was taken to the hospital with a possible dislocated jaw, according to the outlet.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo denounced the attack in a statement last week.
"I am disgusted to hear that a woman of Asian descent was physically assaulted in Manhattan on Tuesday - an attack apparently motivated by the bigoted notion that an Asian person is more likely to carry or transmit the novel coronavirus," Cuomo wrote. "To be clear: there is zero evidence that people of Asian descent bear any additional responsibility for the transmission of the coronavirus."
Cuomo called the attack "not only despicable, but illegal."