Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, was the man seen in the video kicking and stomping on the woman on Monday. They said Elliot was living in a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack. He was taken into custody at the hotel around midnight. Advice from the public led to his apprehension, police said.
Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx neighborhood in 2002 when he was 19. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on parole for life. The parole board had previously twice refused his release. His case also included a robbery arrest in 2000.
“When you release people from jail and put them in homeless shelters, you are asking for trouble,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told WPIX-TV. “There has to be a safety net and there has to be resources for them… You just shake your head and say, ‘What could go wrong’ and that’s what’s wrong. It should never happen. ”
Elliot faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault in Monday’s attack, police said. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. He was to be arrested by video on Wednesday.
The victim suffered serious injuries
The victim has been identified as Vilma Kari, a 65-year-old woman who immigrated from the Philippines, her daughter told The New York Times. The newspaper did not identify Kari’s daughter.
Kari was on her way to church in midtown Manhattan when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, punched her to the ground, stomped on her face, shouted insults at her anti-Asian and said, “You don’t belong here,” before casually leaving.
She was released from hospital on Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.
The attack was one of the latest in a national outbreak of anti-Asian hate crimes and came just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.
The rise in violence has been partly linked to misplaced blame for the coronavirus pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s use of racist terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Chinese virus’.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday’s attack “absolutely disgusting and outrageous.” He said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you have to help your fellow New Yorker,” de Blasio said Tuesday.
Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, son of Taiwanese immigrants, said the victim “could easily have been my mother.” He, too, criticized spectators, saying their inaction was “the exact opposite of what we need here in New York”.
WATCH | De Blasio and Yang respond to a “horrible” attack:
The attack occurred Monday morning outside a luxury apartment building two blocks from Times Square.
Two workers inside the building who appeared to be security guards were seen on surveillance video witnessing the attack, but not assisting the woman. One of them was seen closing the door to the building while the woman was on the floor. The striker was able to casually walk away as spectators watched, the video showed.
The building management company said the workers had been suspended pending an investigation. The workers’ union said it called for help immediately.
Residents of the building defended the workers on Wednesday in a letter to the management company and the media. They claim that a video clip focusing on the suspect and the assault was “unfortunately cut to inadvertently exclude the compassionate action” taken by staff members, which they said included helping the victim and the doctors’ alert.
Philippine government reacts
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said the victim was Filipino American.
The country’s Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr. condemned the attack in a Twitter post, saying, “This is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy. ”
Locsin did not specify how the attack might influence Philippine policy toward the United States. The countries are longtime allies, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is a vocal critic of US security policy who has decided to end a key deal allowing full-scale military exercises with US forces in the Philippines.
“I might as well say it, so no one on the other side could say, ‘We didn’t know you took racial brutality against Filipinos seriously at all.’ We are doing it, ”Locsin said.
Increase in hate crimes
This year in New York City, there were 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim on Sunday, police said. There were 11 such attacks at the same time last year.
On Friday, in the same neighborhood as Monday’s attack, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was approached by a man waving an unknown object and shouting anti-Asian slurs. A 48-year-old man was arrested the next day and charged with threats. He is not suspected in Monday’s attack.
The NYPD said last week it was increasing awareness and patrolling in predominantly Asian communities, including the use of undercover agents to prevent and disrupt attacks.
“This is crucial to the equation,” de Blasio said of the new police efforts. “It’s a very few people, but we have to find each one of them and stop it. ”