A 15-year-old boy was arrested Friday in connection with an assault against an Asian couple in Washington state that was caught on video and shared widely on social media this week.
Footage shows a person wearing a red hoodie running up to the couple and swinging at the man as the woman cries out. In another video clip, the man is being cursed at and seems to be pushed or struck by the person recording the video, who also said he punched the victim in the mouth.
The man, 56, suffered a broken rib during the attack, KING-TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle, reported. While videos of the attack were shared on social media this week, the incident took place last November.
The attack was reported to Tacoma police at the time, police spokesperson Wendy Haddow told NBC News in an email.
“At that time the only suspect information was two black males aged 13 to 17 years,” she said. “There was no known video at that time.”
However, the victim’s family contacted authorities after they saw the resurfaced video on the news this week, Haddow said.
Police did not release the identity of the 15-year-old who was taken into custody. The teen has been charged with second-degree assault, police said in a statement.
Tacoma police said earlier this week that they were investigating the attack as a hate crime, but authorities couldn’t say if it would be prosecuted as such, KING-TV reported.
While police don’t have a motive for the attack, the Asian couple was assaulted amid a recent uptick in racially-motivated attacks against Asian Americans nationwide.
Anti-Asian hate crimes across 16 of the nation’s largest cities increased 149 percent in 2020, according to an analysis of official preliminary police data by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. This surge took place amidst an overall decline in hate crimes.
The first spike in hate crimes occurred in March and April of last year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic amid “negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic,” the report said.