NEW YORK CITY, NY – A homeless man with multiple prior arrests was charged Tuesday for punching an Asian woman in Chinatown, and NYPD’s Commissioner is fed up with the justice system’s revolving door.
Alexander Wright, 48, was arrested shortly after the unprovoked attack, which took place in broad daylight on Monday afternoon. He has been arrested a total of 40 times, including five within the past year.
The New York Police Department has recommended a hate crime charge against a man who punched a 55-year-old Asian woman in an unprovoked attack in Chinatown on Monday night, the NYPD said in a release. https://t.co/ICV7fzo5Tb
— CNN (@CNN) June 1, 2021
Wright has been charged with assault as a hate crime, misdemeanor assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance, a synthetic form of marijuana called K2, in connection with the Monday evening attack, a New York Police Department (NYPD) spokesperson said Tuesday.
He was then taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
The incident occurred on Bayard Street around 6:15 p.m., when authorities say the 55-year-old woman was punched in what authorities called a random and unprovoked attack.
New York City police have released surveillance video showing a man punching a 75-year-old Asian woman in the face in broad daylight. https://t.co/j5IclVF3Po
— ABC News (@ABC) May 28, 2021
The victim in Monday’s attack was walking on Bayard Street when Wright allegedly sucker punched her with a blow to the face, according to surveillance video.
New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou shared the surveillance video of the incident on Twitter explaining she received it from a constituent:
“This was just sent to me from my constituent. This just happened in my district in Chinatown. He has been arrested and our precinct is investigating.”
This was just sent to me from my constituent. This just happened in my district in Chinatown. He has been arrested and our precinct is investigating. pic.twitter.com/sxNfCbrlza
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) May 31, 2021
The woman was knocked to the ground and was taken to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital with a facial injury.
After the suspect punched that woman in the face, witnesses say he turned to the crowd gathered around and yelled, “Do you wanna (sic) fight me?”
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Several people ran to aid the injured woman, including Jin Zhen. He explained what occurred after the victim was struck:
“The victim fell to the ground on her butt and rolled back, the back of her head hit the outdoor dining frame, and she passed out. Her eyes just shut off and had no motion.
“I dropped my food, if I have to get down with this guy, I have to. He came up to me and looked at me, that’s when I showed him the camera, and I don’t know if that aggravated him. And I was getting ready to fight for myself if I have to. He just opened his arms and said, ‘She hit me. Someone hit me.”
Man arrested after video captured him punching a 55-year-old Asian woman in the face in New York City's Chinatown on Monday, authorities say. https://t.co/OFUUSbR04T
— NBC Asian America (@NBCAsianAmerica) June 1, 2021
The suspect then fled the scene. Zhen alert police and chased the man:
“I was like, ‘Hey officer, a woman down the block just got knocked unconscious. The suspect is fleeing on feet. Follow me and we’ll catch up to him.’”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, He slashed $1 billion from the NYPD’s operating budget last year amid a surge in crime, commented on the attack:
“I have not (seen the video) but I certainly am deeply concerned. We had a spate of horrible attacks against Asian Americans. They are unacceptable. We have encouraged everyone to come forward. We’ve got to stop Asian hate, that’s the bottom line.
“We have a very strong Asian Crime Task Force in the NYPD, which is doing really powerful work, including undercover work, which has captured several assailants.”
De Blasio has been criticized by New Yorkers for claiming the spike in crime this year on the pandemic. Many blame the Mayor’s 2020 bail reforms supposedly intended to tackle the disproportionate number of poor people jailed for not being able to afford to pay bail.
The reforms have resulted in many suspects charged with serious crimes being released back onto the streets without having to pay bail. Many of these criminals reoffend while free.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the New York judicial system was failing the residents of New York. He expressed anger over local laws that allow people like Wright to continually commit crimes and collect victims:
“Lives in a shelter, arrested eight times in the last year, randomly assaulting people, setting fires. The guy that was arrested on Friday setting fires. What are we doing in society, we’re releasing these people right back onto the street?”
The attack follows another attack in New York City caught on video Sunday. A 64-year-old man was cornered at a midtown subway turnstile by two men armed with a razor. The men knocked the man to the ground and began punching him. One of the men then slashed the victim’s face with the razor.
Asian American Man Shoved Onto Subway Tracks In Brazen New York City Attack | Oxygen Official Site https://t.co/o43q0CSxB9
— A Great Big City (@agreatbigcity) May 27, 2021
The victim, only identified as a Brooklyn resident, had just finished praying at a mosque when the attack occurred. The victim spoke to ABC 7 News:
“I feel angry and upset and sad. (They) Hit me two times here, in this eye and this eye, and the other guy, he brought a razor. ‘And the blood start coming and took the money from me and disappeared.”
The victim required 12 stitches on his forehead and other two stitches near one of his eyes.
Last week, Democratic NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted last week New Yorker’s do not feel safe:
‘We have a major crime problem in New York City. Everything we just talked about, with the economy coming back, you know what the first step is? People have to feel safe. We’re building new projects, stimulating new business – what comes before that is public safety, otherwise none of it works.
‘New Yorkers don’t feel safe and they don’t feel safe because the crime rate is up. It’s not that they are being neurotic or overly sensitive – they are right. Subways are cleaner than they’ve been, operating better – but they’re not as safe and people are afraid to take the train.”
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