Across the country, most of the anti-Asian attacks documented over the past year took place inside stores or on public streets, and bystanders rarely intervened, according to Cynthia Choi, the co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that tracks incidents of violence and discrimination against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
In another video that went viral this week, a man was beaten and choked on a subway train in Brooklyn in what appeared initially to be another anti-Asian hate crime. The video, posted on social media, showed fellow riders shouting at the attacker to stop without stepping into the fight.
- A torrent of hate and violence against people of Asian descent around the U.S. began last spring, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Community leaders say the bigotry was spurred by the rhetoric of former President Trump, who referred to the coronavirus as the “China virus.”
- In New York, a wave of xenophobia and violence has been compounded by the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has dealt a severe blow to New York’s Asian-American communities. Many community leaders say racist assaults are being overlooked by the authorities.
- In January, an 84-year-old man from Thailand was violently slammed to the ground in San Francisco, resulting in his death at a hospital two days later. The attack, captured on video, has become a rallying cry.
- Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in the Atlanta massage parlor shootings on March 16. The suspect’s motives are under investigation, but Asian communities across the United States are on alert because of a surge in attacks against Asian-Americans over the past year.
- A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime in connection with a violent attack on a Filipino woman near Times Square on March 30. The attack sparked further outrage after security footage appeared to show bystanders failing to immediately come to the woman’s aid.
On Tuesday, however, a law enforcement official said that police now believe the victim was Hispanic and the violence may have started when he called his attacker, who was Black, a racial slur.
Police were also investigating another incident Monday night as a possible hate crime. In that case, an Asian woman was waiting in a subway station in Manhattan and noticed that someone had set her backpack on fire.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio urged people to call the police immediately if they witnessed an attack and to “shout out what’s happening” to disrupt the violence. “Even just that act of drawing attention and not just letting it go on is powerful,” he said.
In some instances, bystanders who tried to stop attacks recently have been injured or worse. Last month, an Asian man was stabbed to death in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, after he tried to stop the attempted robbery of another Asian man, the authorities said.
In another incident last week, a bystander tried to step in when a 26-year-old homeless man threatened an older Asian couple in Gravesend, Brooklyn. The homeless man punched the bystander and spit at him, calling him an anti-Chinese racial slur, according to prosecutors. The assault has been charged as a hate crime.