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Joseph Russo Facing Hate Crime Charges In 3 Anti-Asian Attacks In Brooklyn, NYPD Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man has been arrested in connection with multiple anti-Asian attacks in Brooklyn.

Joseph Russo, 28, was expected to be arraigned Thursday on various hate crimes charges.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, he has more than a dozen prior arrests.

Police say video shows Russo attacking a 32-year-old Asian woman last month in Midwood. The incident happened just before 8 a.m. on March 22 in front of 1308 Kings Highway. Police said no words were exchanged during the incident and the victim refused medical attention.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating after police say a 77-year-old Asian man was pushed to the ground in Brooklyn. (Credit: NYPD)

The most recent attack happened on Monday at 11:15 a.m. in front of the J&R NY Supermarket on Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay. A 77-year-old Asian man looking at vegetables was pushed to the ground allegedly by Russo, who then walked away.

Again, police say no words were exchanged.

The victim suffered bruising to his arm.

Police also allege Russo pushed a 64-year-old Asian woman to the ground in Gravesend on 6th Street near Kings Highway on March 5 at around 9:30 a.m.

Residents told Gainer they're surprised about the location of the attack, but not at all shocked that it happened.

When asked if she feels nervous at all, Wai Lau said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, so far. I don't want to take the train and go to Manhattan."

Many people say, in general, they're now afraid to travel alone.

"I'm so afraid, which I never used to [be]. We used to get on the bus, get on the subway, go to the city and shop, and now I think about it. I really do," one person said.

Police said Russo, who lives in Brooklyn, has a lengthy rap sheet, 14 prior arrests dating to 2009 for criminal mischief, public lewdness, drug possession, assault, criminal trespass, and burglary.

As for these recent alleged crimes, Russo is charged with assault and harassment as a hate crime.

The attacks come amid a disturbing spike in violence against Asian-Americans. According to the NYPD, there have been 33 anti-Asian hate crime victims through March 28, compared to 11 during the same period last year.

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