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Asian Woman Tells CBS2 Employee At Queens Boutique Became Aggressive And Spoke To Her In Racist Manner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An Asian woman in Queens is angry after she says she was attacked and spoken to in a racist way at a local boutique.

The woman spoke exclusively to CBS2's Kiran Dhillon on Sunday.

Bea Cruz said she felt compelled to pull out her cellphone and start filming after an employee at a Queens boutique allegedly became aggressive and spoke in a racist manner towards her.

"Who are you to say that? I came in to actually support your business," the 25-year-old said.

The incident happened at around 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

READ MOREMan Arrested After Allegedly Using Anti-Asian Slurs, Harassing Undercover Officer In Queens

Cruz, a full time nurse, said she was shopping at Maiko, a boutique in Forest Hills, when she began asking the male employee some pricing and return policy questions.

She said he was rude to start and things quickly escalated.

"He turn around and blew up at me. 'You talk too much. This is not China; this is America,'" Cruz said. "I got triggered because that's racist."

Cruz said she tried to talk the employee down, but eventually he attempted to rip the clothes from her hands.

"He's like, 'Gimme, gimme, you can't buy this.' Still, at this moment, I was saying, I will buy this. Just don't say this to me,'" Cruz said.

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Cruz, a member of the Filipino community, said she began filming at the register after the hostile situation became even more tense.

"He took a metal hanger and went like this and I backed up. He then whipped me with the romper he had in his hand," Cruz said.

CBS2 spoke to the employee in question. He denied saying anything racist to Cruz and said she was a disruptive customer.

READ MOREBronx Man Daniel Negroni Facing Hate Crime Charges After Allegedly Harassing Woman, Making Anti-Asian Remarks

The owner of the store would not comment when Dhillon spoke to him by phone and asked CBS2's crew to leave his business.

Cruz, meanwhile, said she has shopped at the store many times before and has never had a bad experience with the employee in question.

She said more needs to be done to combat anti-Asian sentiment.

Others agree.

Amid a recent spike in hate crimes against Asian-Americans around the country, hundreds of people gathered at a rally in Flushing, Queens on Sunday to speak out against anti-Asian hate.

"If you hate, get the hell out of here because you don't belong in New York City," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"Anyone who engages in hate against the Asian community or any other community, we will use the full force of the law against you," state Attorney General Letitia James said.

"In this moment of opportunity, have honest conversations about racism and justice and xenophobia," said Jo-Ann Yoo of the Asian American Federation's New York City chapter.

Back in Forest Hills, Cruz said she is grateful for the support from elected officials. She hopes it will empower members of her community to speak out if they are targeted.

"I want our voices to be heard. It's a shame to Forest Hills that there is something like this going on actively here," Cruz said.

She said she plans to make a formal complaint about the incident to police.

In the meantime, she wants the store and the employee to issue a formal apology. Not to her, but to members of her community and the neighborhood.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon and Christina Fan contributed to this report

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