Kari was walking to church in midtown Manhattan when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, stomped on her face, shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her, “you don’t belong here” before casually walking away.
She was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.
The attack on Monday was among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, and happened just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent. The surge in violence has been linked in part to misplaced blame for the coronavirus pandemic and former president Donald Trump’s use of racially charged terms like “Chinese virus”.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday’s attack “absolutely disgusting and outrageous”. He said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” de Blasio said on Tuesday.
The attack happened late on Monday morning outside a luxury apartment building two blocks from Times Square.
Two workers inside the building who appeared to be security guards were seen on surveillance video witnessing the attack but failing to come to the woman’s aid. One of them was seen closing the building door as the woman was on the ground. The attacker was able to casually walk away while onlookers watched, the video showed.
The building’s management company said they were suspended pending an investigation. The workers’ union said they called for help immediately.
Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, said the victim “could easily have been my mother”. He too criticised the bystanders, saying their inaction was “exactly the opposite of what we need here in New York City”.
This year in New York City, there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim as of Sunday, police said. There were 11 such attacks by the same time last year.
On Friday, in the same neighbourhood as Monday’s attack, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was accosted by a man waving an unknown object and shouting anti-Asian insults. A 48-year-old man was arrested the next day and charged with menacing. He is not suspected in Monday’s attack.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced last week that the department would increase outreach and patrols in predominantly Asian communities, including the use of undercover officers to prevent and disrupt attacks.
The neighbourhood where Monday’s attack occurred, Hell’s Kitchen, is predominantly white, with an Asian population of less than 20 per cent, according to city demographic data.