NEW YORK (WPIX) — A man is wanted for yelling anti-Asian slurs and spitting at a woman and her three children in New York’s Times Square earlier this week, police said.
According to police, the incident happened on March 30 at 2:30 p.m., while the four victims were on a southbound 5 train en route to the 42nd Street/Times Square subway station. An unknown man began yelling anti-Asian slurs at a 44-year-old woman and her three children before spitting twice in her direction.
The man then knocked the woman’s cellphone out of her hand and proceeded to kick it out the back door of the subway car and onto the tracks as the train was still in motion, authorities said. The man then exited the transit system, fleeing westbound on West 41st Street toward 8th Avenue.
The woman was taken to a hospital for observation.
The suspect is described as a man between 50-55 years old, weighing between 150-160 pounds, and is 6-feet tall. The individual was last seen wearing a dark camouflage sweater, dark sweatpants, and black sandals. He was also wearing a black sock on his left foot and a white sock on his right foot.
The incident comes amid a surge of anti-Asian bias incidents and hate crimes New York.
Residents and activists have shown support for Asian communities and those affected by the violence at demonstrations across the city as well as in New Jersey.
The New York Police Department announced last week it planned to increase outreach and patrols in Asian communities.
The department is sending undercover officers to neighborhoods with significant Asian populations in an attempt to prevent and disrupt attacks, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The undercover officers are being trained and will be on patrol by the end of the weekend, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.
The NYPD started an Asian Hate Crime Task Force last year amid increasing attacks as the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States.
Political leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have repeatedly used xenophobic terms to refer to the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan province. Critics say the former president’s language stoked violence against Asian Americans and immigrants.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.