A 61-year-old Asian man has been placed in a coma after being brutally attacked in New York City on Friday, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to vow that the suspect will be caught.
Yao Pan Ma, a Chinese immigrant, was attacked in East Harlem Friday night while collecting cans. According to the statement given to Newsweek by New York Police Department, Ma was approached from behind by an unknown suspect who “struck the victim in the back causing him to fall on the ground.
“Once on the ground, the individual kicked the victim multiple times in the head before fleeing the location on foot to parts unknown,” the statement added.
Video footage of the harrowing incident has since been released by the NYPD, showing the suspected repeatedly stomping on Ma while he laid motionless on the ground. Police were called to the scene after a bus driver reported seeing Ma laying unconscious, ABC 7 News reported.
Ma was then transferred to a hospital in Harlem, where he was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering from a cerebral contusion and facial fractures, the New York Post reported. His family additionally confirmed his current condition, ABC 7 reported.
On Saturday, de Blasio commented on the assault, calling it “outrageous.”
Ma’s family told ABC 7 that he had immigrated to New York two years ago, and was collecting cans for extra money after losing his job in the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are completely in shock — terrified and scared and frustrated,” she said. “My uncle is a very quiet person, very hardworking. He’s not the person to cause trouble,” Ma’s niece said in an interview.
Police have not yet determined if Ma was targeted due to his race, but the incident is now being investigated by the NYPD’s hate crimes unit and officers within the 25th precinct.
“The individual is described as an adult male, dark complexion. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, black pants, white sneakers and a multi-colored baseball cap,” the NYPD told Newsweek. The attack comes amid a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes across the country.
According to a report released last month by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 145 percent last year in 16 of the largest cities in the U.S. The report attributed the rise in hate crimes in part to “negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic.”