A suspect has been arrested in the attack against a 61-year-old Asian man that happened Friday night in East Harlem.
The suspect, 49-year-old Jarrod Powell, is charged with attacking Yao Pan Ma while he was collecting cans. Powell, who is black, allegedly attacked Ma from behind in an unprovoked attack and repeatedly stomped on him as he lay on the ground, WABC reported. Ma’s family says he is still in a coma following the attack.
Powell was taken into custody after tips from the community poured in. Powell was reportedly seen at a shelter near where the attack happened. He was arrested and charged, with the charges upgraded Tuesday “to attempted murder and assault as a hate crime,” WABC reported.
Ma immigrated to New York’s Chinatown two years ago but moved to Harlem after the family’s apartment burned down. Ma then lost his job during the coronavirus pandemic when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) shut down the city, forcing businesses to close and people to lose their jobs. Ma’s niece told WABC that he collected cans to help support his family.
“We are completely in shock — terrified and scared and frustrated,” she said of the attack. “My uncle is a very quiet person, very hardworking. He’s not the person to cause trouble.”
The outlet added that New York Police Department statistics show hate crimes against Asians are up 45%.
“Powell has a lengthy and violent arrest record. In January 25, 1998, he kidnapped 23-year-old woman from an apartment on Staten Island, took her to another location and sexually assaulted her. He was charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, sexual misconduct, sex assault,” WABC reported. “He was then arrested for fare evasion on the subway in July 2002, November 2003, December 2003, twice in January 2004, April 2004, November 2004, and December 2004. In February of 2006, he was arrested for assault at the Port Authority Bus Terminal twice, and in July of 2006, Powell assaulted a fellow inmate with a food tray at Rikers Island and then punched the victim.”
Powell told reporters that he didn’t attack Ma but that Ma attacked him.
The outlet reported that a community event was held to support the family, but while Ma’s wife attended, she did not speak. Community activist Karlin Chan spoke for the family instead.
“The Ma family understands this is the act of a single depraved individual and has nothing to do with the community of Harlem at large,” Chan said, according to WABC.
Assemblyman Ron Kim also spoke at the event.
“As New Yorkers, we shouldn’t tolerate it,” he said. “We come here to say, stop targeting, scapegoating, and killing Asian Americans.”
Democrats and pundits at major media outlets, who spent the past month decrying hate crimes against Asian-Americans following a shooting at an Atlanta spa that killed six Asian women and two others, have been silent on attacks against Asians that involve non-white suspects. Because the Atlanta shooter was white, these commentators pushed the theory that attacks against Asians are the result of “white supremacy,” so they have to ignore any attack that isn’t caused by a white person.
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