Asian American activists have flocked outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Monday to demand that the stabbing of an Asian man in Chinatown be regarded as a hate crime and the man involved be charged accordingly.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the stabbing as a hate crime, despite the NYPD recommendations that called for hate crime charges, reports ABC7.
Authorities believe that the attack may have been racially motivated after it was revealed that one of Salman Muflihi’s previous arrests was for allegedly punching another Asian man.
The 23-year-old has been charged with second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Speaking at the rally, community advocate Don Lee said, “We are fed up, and we are pissed off. Enough is enough.”
As NextShark previously reported, Muflihi stabbed the 36-year-old victim with an eight-inch kitchen knife as he was walking near Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse at the corner of Worth Street and Baxter street around 6:20 p.m. last Thursday.
Muflihi then approached and told a security guard outside the nearby Manhattan District Attorney’s Office building that he had just stabbed someone.
When questioned by investigators, he said he stabbed the victim “because he didn’t like the way he looked at him.” He also allegedly said, “I stabbed that guy. If he dies, he dies. I don’t give a f–k.”
The victim, who remains in critical condition at a hospital, lost one of his kidneys, his adrenal gland and suffered damage to his liver.
A law enforcement official told ABC News that investigators were unable to establish that Muflihi ever saw the victim’s face before the attack since he was wearing a hat and a mask.
The League of Asian Americans of New York has teamed up with several Asian American candidates for New York City Council in demanding the DA prosecute the Chinatown stabbing as a hate crime.
They pointed out that the defendant could identify his victim as Asian as he admitted the victim made eye contact.
“He admitted that he did not like the way he looked at him. So there is no way why the DA would drop the charges,” said City Council candidate Susan Lee.
In a statement, the District Attorney’s Office maintained that the case has not been established as a hate crime.
“The defendant’s statement that he ‘didn’t like the way (the victim) looked at him’ does not establish a hate crime, when the evidence to date shows that he ran up to the victim from behind and may have never actually seen his face,” the statement read. “As we do in every case, we are continuing to investigate and may bring additional charges if warranted.”