According to the New York City Police Department, Brandon Elliot, 38, is facing several charges, including assault as a hate crime and attempted assault as a hate crime for his brutal caught-on-camera attack on a 65-year-old Asian American woman.
The unprovoked attack happened near a busy roundabout where a surveillance camera showed an unidentified man punching and kicking the woman while she was on her way to church.
“Mr. Elliot is accused of brutally shoving, kicking and stomping a 65-year-old mother to the ground after telling her that she didn’t belong here,” Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said at a joint news conference with the city’s police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea. “So let me join the commissioner in being clear: This brave woman belongs here. Asian-American New Yorkers belong here. Everyone belongs here.”
The viral video released by the Manhattan police drew widespread anger and outrage at growing incidents of hate crimes perpetrated against people of color.
Violence attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have seen an alarming and disturbing surge in recent years, which many activists have attributed to former US president Donald Trump and his aides for using xenophobic language against the vulnerable communities.
The incidents of hate crime particularly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian Americans were falsely accused of spreading the virus and asked to go back to their home countries. Elderly Asians were violently attacked by strangers on pavements for no apparent reason.