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Police in New York are investigating a possible hate crime after an Asian American man was shoved onto a subway track on Monday by a man who continued walking “nonchalantly” down the platform after the attack.
The 35-year-old victim was waiting for a train at the 21st Street-Queensbridge station in Queens around 7:45 a.m. on Monday, according to the New York Police Department. The victim, who has not been identified, was able to get off of the tracks as the trains went into emergency mode, according to the New York Post. The paper reported that he was treated for cuts on his head at Mount Sinai Medical Center and was soon released.
As the suspect walked past and pushed the man onto the tracks, he muttered “something unintelligible,” police said.
Investigators are searching for the suspect, who is a man in his 20s or 30s and was wearing all black on the morning of the attack. He fled the station after the incident, police told People.
MTA spokesman Michael Cortez cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for a spike in crime in the subway system and suggested that a crisis in mental health across New York has also played a factor in these types of incidents.
“There is no higher priority for the MTA than the safety and security of our customers,” Cortez said in a statement. “Like other transit systems across the country, the MTA has experienced a significant dip in ridership as a result of the pandemic and a spike in crime.
“We continue to call on the de Blasio Administration to partner with us and do more to address these incidents in the subway and the ongoing mental health crisis in the city,” he added.
The attack at the Queens subway station comes weeks after Yao Pan Ma, a 61-year-old Chinese American man, was assaulted by a man who kicked him repeatedly in the head in East Harlem. On Twitter, Mayor Bill de Blasio called that attack “outrageous.” In April, a woman who immigrated from the Philippines was knocked to the ground near Times Square then stomped on by a recent parolee who shouted anti-Asian slurs at her.
Lawmakers recently passed legislation to fight an uptick in hate crimes directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which have seen an increase since the onset of the pandemic. The legislation ensures the expedited review of hate crimes at the Justice Department and gives support to local police to respond to these types of incidents and attacks.
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