Man charged with Anti-Asian hate crimes: Could this help stop future offenders?
Last week, a video of a man violently attacking an Asian American woman in New York City went viral all over the internet, inciting outrage & anger from the Asian community & activists. On Wednesday, the New York Police Department had announced that the man responsible for the violent attack has been arrested on hate crime charges, and that this was not his first time in trouble with the law.
The racist incident
A video that was shared all over the internet was obtained thanks to surveillance footage from a building near the crime scene. In the video, the hate crime began when an Asian woman could be seen walking down the sidewalk and suddenly stopping while a larger man stormed up to her. From there, the suspect could be seen kicking the woman to the ground, stomping her head, and continuing to attack her even after she was down.
According to the criminal complaint from the victim, a sixty-five-year-old Filipino American woman named Vilma Kari, the attacker, thirty-eight-year-old Brandon Elliot yelled the following: “f*ck you, you don’t belong here, you Asian”. After he attacked her, he walked away and left her still lying down on the sidewalk.
In the surveillance footage of the hate crime, security staff failed to intervene and turned a blind eye despite the footage showing that they clearly witnessed the incident. The security even went as far as closing the door on the victim as she lay injured just a few feet outside the building. ABC News reported that staff said they closed the door because the man had a knife, but went to help the victim shortly after he left.
The victim of Monday’s hate crime, Vilma Kari, had immigrated from the Philippines to America decades ago according to the New York Times. Her daughter had said that the elderly woman was in the middle of walking to church during the time of the violent incident.
Her injuries from the hate crime were so bad that she had to be transported to the hospital and was treated for a fractured pelvis and contusions all over her head & body. Police have confirmed that thankfully, the woman is now in stable condition. A GoFundMe has been created to raise money for Kari’s recovery, and the fundraiser has since raised over ninety-seven thousand dollars.
Kari’s daughter also mentioned that the video footage did show another person on the street who witnessed the scene while trying to yell and divert the attention of the attacker during the incident. Her daughter wrote: “To this person, I understand your decision in remaining anonymous during this time. I want to THANK YOU for stepping in and doing the right thing”.
Thanks to assistance from the public and excellent investigative work by @NYPDHateCrimes Detectives, the individual wanted for Monday’s assault of a 65 year-old Asian female, at 360 West 43rd St, was arrested and charged with Felony Assault as a Hate Crime. pic.twitter.com/ZQRVGZEAb2
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) March 31, 2021
Brandon Elliot, the attacker, has been charged with two counts of assault as a hate crime, an attempted assault as a hate crime, assault, and attempted assault, according to Buzzfeed News. Elliot was arraigned on Wednesday and will be going to court again on Monday. The Legal Aid Society, which is representing him, said they “strongly urge the public to reserve judgment until all the facts are presented in court”.
“Mr. Elliot has a constitutional right to counsel and due process. As with every client we represent, he will have unfettered access to our legal resources and expertise. We are fully reviewing this case and will have additional comments in the coming days and weeks”, their statement read.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea also mentioned that Brandon Elliot is a parolee on supervised release. When the guilty attacker was nineteen, he was reportedly convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx, and was released from prison on lifetime parole in 2019.
Rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes
This situation is one of many anti-Asian attacks across America, most of which have been directed against older Asian adults, with some that have even been deadly. According to the organization Stop AAPI Hate, there have been at least 3,795 hate incidents against Asian Americans that have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. has claimed to have worked on over a dozen cases relating to anti-Asian racism in the past year alone in his office. In a statement, Vance said: “There is no place for these atrocious acts of violence in New York, particularly as the AAPI community is still grieving and in pain following the heinous attack by a gunman in Georgia earlier this month”.
He continued: “We stand with the AAPI community, and want you to know we are here to listen, and to help”.