The man who allegedly punched an Asian woman in an unprompted assault Monday has 17 prior arrests, reports say.
Video of the incident showed a 55-year-old Asian woman getting punched in the face by a man passing her on a sidewalk in New York City’s Chinatown, The Hill reported. Alexander Wright, 48, was arrested in connection to the case, and is facing several charges, including assault as a hate crime, CNN reported.
Wright, who is homeless, has 17 prior arrests, including several for assault, according to police, 6 ABC Action News reported. On May 10, Wright was arrested for two separate instances, and charged with criminal mischief and assault.
The suspect is also facing charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to CNN.
The victim was taken to a hospital nearby. The identity of the woman, who was in stable condition, has not been immediately confirmed, The Hill reported.
Democratic New York State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou tweeted out the video of the incident, which was confirmed as being accurate by NYPD Lt. Paul Ng, CNN reported.
This was just sent to me from my constituent. This just happened in my district in Chinatown. He has been arrested and our precinct is investigating. pic.twitter.com/sxNfCbrlza
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) May 31, 2021
Violent hate crimes against Asian Americans have become more common since the start of the pandemic last March. Twenty-four anti-Asian hate crimes were reported by police data between Jan 1 and Nov. 29, 2020, eight times higher than those reported throughout the same time period in 2019.
That trend has continued throughout the first quarter of 2021. Hate crimes targeted against Asian Americans increased by 169% throughout 15 U.S. cities in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the first quarter of 2020, The Hill reported. New York saw the largest increase, where such crimes rose by 223%. (RELATED: Asian Woman Brutally Attacked With Hammer In New York City)
In May, the Biden administration signed into law legislation that addressed such hate crimes, particularly against Asian-Americans.