NEW YORK >> A 61-year-old Asian man was attacked by a man who kicked him repeatedly in the head in East Harlem, police said.
The man was collecting cans when he was attacked from behind, knocked to the ground and kicked in the head shortly after 8 p.m. Friday. He was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical but stable condition, police said.
Surveillance video released by the police appears to show the attacker stomping on the victim’s head. The police department’s hate crimes task force is investigating the attack, the latest in a troubling rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York and around the country.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the assault “outrageous” on Twitter. “Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” de Blasio said Saturday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday he would direct the state hate crimes task force to offer assistance in investigating the attack.
“I’m sickened to learn of yet another bigoted act of violence against an Asian American man,” the governor said in a statement. “This is not who we are as New Yorkers, and we will not let these cowardly acts of hate against members of our New York family intimidate us.”
Police did not release the victim’s name, but multiple news outlets identified him as Yao Pan Ma, a former restaurant worker who lost his job because of the pandemic and was collecting cans to make ends meet.
The victim’s wife, Baozhen Chen, 57, pleaded for police to find her husband’s attacker in an interview with the New York Post.
“Please capture him as soon as possible and make him pay,” Chen said in Mandarin through a translator.