A woman facing multiple hate crime charges for a string of attacks against Asian Americans in New York City was held without bail over the weekend.
What she did: Maricia Bell, 25, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly attacking four Asian Americans, beginning in May. All incidents took place in Queens, according to NBC New York.
- The first incident occurred in a parking lot on Kissena Boulevard on May 23. Bell allegedly punched a 24-year-old man in the face, took his glasses and ran off, as per CBS New York.
- The second incident took place at a grocery store on Parsons Boulevard on June 16. Bell allegedly approached a 34-year-old woman, asked her, “Why are you looking at me?” and punched her in the back of the head, WABC reported.
- The third incident occurred at the corner of Parsons Boulevard and 72nd Avenue on July 11. Bell allegedly approached a 63-year-old woman, slapped her face and removed her mask, AP News noted.
- The fourth and most recent incident took place on 71st Avenue and Parsons Boulevard. Bell allegedly approached a 75-year-old woman — who had been collecting bottles — and struck the back of her head with a hammer, leaving her with a laceration, according to Sunnyside Post.
The charges: Bell was charged with robbery as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime and grand larceny as a hate crime, as well as aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. She faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.
- “Racism is immoral and unacceptable — acting on one’s prejudice is a crime. This defendant must answer for allegedly attacking four different victims — all people of Asian descent — during sudden, violent outburst(s) of rage here in Queens County,” Katz said in a statement.
- Bell was ordered held without bail on Saturday, the New York Post reported. The 25-year-old confirmed that she was the woman captured in screenshots of surveillance videos at three of the crime scenes.
- The fourth victim reportedly needed seven stitches to her laceration. Bell told the police, “I was there. She was begging for money. I hit her.”
Bell returns to court on Aug. 16.