A man suspected of a “horrific attack” on a 61-year-old Asian man in New York City was arrested early Tuesday morning, police said.
Jarrod Powell, 49, of East Harlem, faces two counts of felony assault, according to a statement from the New York City Police Department. It’s unclear if Powell has a lawyer.
The victim was allegedly attacked at about 8:30 p.m. Friday when a man struck the victim from behind, “causing him to fall to the ground” in East Harlem, police said Saturday.
Surveillance footage released by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, which is also investigating the incident, appears to show the man kicking the victim’s head repeatedly while he is on the ground.
Emergency medical personnel rushed the man to a local hospital, police said.
Ron Kim, a member of the New York State Assembly who has been in touch with Ma’s family, said the victim was collecting cans to contribute to rent when he was attacked.
“Yao Pan Ma used to be a chef in China. He took a job as a dishwasher here until he got laid off. He didn’t qualify for unemployment so he collected cans to pay for his $1,000 rent. As Yao fights for his life, his wife is by herself, unable to eat, crying nonstop,” Kim wrote on Twitter.
He said Ma was in a coma following the assault and on Tuesday morning reported that he was still “fighting for his life.”
Doctors “can’t conduct surgery due to the over swelling around his brain,” Kim wrote.
While authorities have not determined if the victim was targeted because of his race, the incident comes amid a wave of racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans nationwide.
While hate crimes decreased overall by 7 percent last year, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent across 16 of the nation’s largest cities in 2020, the analysis found.
New York accounted for the largest surge from three in 2019 to 28 in 2020, an 833 percent increase.
The uptick in cases prompted the U.S. Senate to pass legislation last week targeting anti-Asian hate crimes.