Per: NYP – A hate-spewing suspect dressed in loud fuchsia was caught on video screaming at a group of Asian women, “Go back where you came from!” — and then pepper-spraying them — in Chelsea, cops and a victim said Tuesday.
“I thought I would be safe in the middle of Chelsea, in the middle of the day, with so many people around,” victim Nicole Chung, 24, told The Post.. But “it is not safe going out in the city as an Asian person. … It’s scary in New York.”
Chung, a graphic designer, said she and three female friends – another 24-year-old and two 25-year-olds – had left the L.E.A.F flower show in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District on Saturday and were at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue in Chelsea when they realized around 6 p.m. that one of them had misplaced a bag in the area.
They began looking for the lost item and “stopped on the corner for maybe 30 seconds to work out which direction to go when a lady nearby turned around and said, ‘You’re harassing me,’ ” Chung said.
“She said ‘I know what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to harass me,’” Chung recalled. “I responded, ‘We’re not trying to bother you, but if you want us to move, you can ask nicely.’ ”
The victim said one of her friends apologized to the woman, saying, “Sorry, if we invaded your space, we’ll leave.’ ”
Video provided by one of the victims shows a wider view of the incident
But the woman started spewing racial slurs out of the blue, Chung said.
“You’re harassing me! Go back where you came from! Go back to your country!” screamed the woman, dressed in a blinding fuchsia and orange dress, large fuchsia scarf draped around her shoulders and large sunglasses.
Chung said she explained that she was born in the USA and raised in the city.
“This is my home, where I should be comfortable, especially in broad daylight. I was born and raised in Queens,” Chung told The Post.
“My friend started to record [the enraged woman], but then [the suspect] smacked the phone out of her hand,” Chung said. “Then she turned to an Asian bystander who we didn’t know and said, ” ‘Take your bitches back to where you all came from.’ ”
The woman then pepper-sprayed the foursome and fled north on Ninth Avenue, cops said.
The spray hit Chung like a ton of bricks.
“When she sprayed, we were in a state of shock, like, ‘What the hell just happened?’ ” Chung recalled. “She hit me in the eyes with the pepper spray, which started burning immediately. It felt like someone was pouring bleach in my eyes.”
She said passers-by jumped in to help and splashed water in her eyes, but the pain just got worse and worse. She couldn’t see for 30 minutes.
Chung stayed home from work Tuesday because she was afraid to take the subway and said she planned to see a doctor about the continued burning.
“The pandemic spewed up a lot of hatred towards Asian people who want to blame us for COVID,” she said.
“I do not feel safe in the city by myself. I am always looking over my shoulder.”
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, cops said.
Anti-Asian crimes in the city skyrocketed after the pandemic hit the Big Apple in spring 2020, NYPD statistics show.
The suspect appears to be in her 50s, about 5 feet 3 and 120 pounds, police said. There were 30 reported incidents in 2020 compared to 133 last year, for a 343 percent spike, data show. Bias crimes against Asians accounted for 25 percent of all hate crime reports in Gotham last year, according to the NYPD figures.
Anyone with information on Saturday’s incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
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