A woman who allegedly berated and threatened violence against Asian workers in a Manhattan Chinatown salon, before yelling anti-Asian slurs at an undercover New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, was arrested Tuesday afternoon.
Police identified the perpetrator as a 50-year-old black woman named Sharon Williams. She was initially at the Good Choice for Nails Salon in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, where she made threatening and offensive comments toward the Asian staff, police told The Washington Post.
“You brought coronavirus to this country!” she allegedly yelled.
Williams later allegedly harassed an Asian pedestrian outside the salon when an Asian American plainclothes NYPD officer approached her. She started berating the undercover cop as well and called him a “monkey,” police said, according to the New York Daily News.
“You’re a Chinese motherf*cker who brought COVID to this country!” she allegedly screamed as police officers took her into custody.
Undercover Asian officers are working in areas that have had hate crimes to address the issue. Yesterday, one of those officers was able to step in & make an arrest during an anti-Asian incident in the @NYPD5Pct, marking the first arrest by this new initiative. pic.twitter.com/RVMtSjIuyG
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 7, 2021
Williams was charged with harassment as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, police told The Washington Post. (RELATED: Man Arrested After Trashing Asian-Owned Store With Signpost, Yelling Racial Slurs)
Law enforcement data released earlier this year found targeted harassment and violent crimes against Asian Americans have become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic. New York has seen a similar increase in such incidents, with at least 35 anti-Asian hate crime reports made this year, the New York Times reported.
The NYPD created an Asian hate crime task force last year to address the surge in targeted incidents against Asian Americans. Commissioner Dermont Shea announced last month the department would increase patrols in Asian communities, which included the deployment of plainclothes officers, CBS2 reported.
“The next person you target, whether it’s through speech, menacing activity, or anything else, walking along a sidewalk or a train platform, may be a plainclothes New York City police officer. So think twice,” Shea said at a March 25 news conference.