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A man accused of viciously assaulting an Asian man in Harlem on Friday night has been charged with attempted murder.
Jarrod Powell, 49, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the attack on Yao Pan Ma, sources at the New York City Police department confirmed with Oxygen.com. Powell was also charged with two counts of assault. The attack is being investigated as a hate crime, officials said.
Yao Pan Ma was collecting cans on 125th Street and 3rd Avenue in Harlem around 8:20 p.m. on April 23 when Powell allegedly knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the head several times.
Authorities released images and video of Powell, as well as a recording of the attack. Footage of the incident shows Powell, wearing a black jacket and white sneakers, repeatedly stomping on Ma’s head. Powell fled on foot, police said.
The 61-year-old father suffered facial fractures and a cerebral contusion, and was rushed to Harlem Hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma.
“When I saw him in the hospital … his face, I cried. I still cry,” Baozhen Chen, Ma’s wife, told the New York Post.
The man’s wife said she now fears he won’t survive.
“I told our children last night,” Chen told the Post this weekend. “They are very concerned about their father. I am very worried my husband will not make it...I’m very upset.”
Ma moved to New York City about two years ago, according to his family. He moved to Harlem after his Chinatown apartment burned down.
“He picks up bottles to help pay the rent and the bills,” Chen said. “He is innocent. He did not do anything wrong. He is a very kind person. He is quiet. He doesn’t cause trouble to make people mad.”
Ma was a pastry chef but recently lost his job at a restaurant in Lower Manhattan because of the pandemic, according to his wife.
“My husband made fancy desserts in China,” Chen explained. “We came here for the job opportunity two years ago. He lost his job because of COVID-19. So, he did whatever he could to help support and pay bills.”
She described him as a “hard-working man.” The couple’s two children reside in China.
Last year, the FBI warned that possible hate crime attacks targeting Asian Americans were on the rise amidst the surging coronavirus pandemic. New York City in particular has seen a sharp rise in alleged hate crimes targeting individuals of Asian descent. As of April 18, police have logged 66 hate crime complaints this year involving Asians being victimized, according to New York City Police data. During the same time last year, police recorded just 12 suspected Asian hate crimes.
Ma’s spouse, too, is now frightened for her own safety.
“I’m scared and paranoid,” Chen told the Post. “I don’t feel safe. I’m afraid to walk on the streets when it’s dark. I go home before it gets dark. There are so many of these incidents happening. Now it’s close to home … It is so wrong that this happens and it’s not just one time...He didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the New York City Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477.
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