An employee from a Korean-owned beauty supply store, Hair and Wig Beauty Supply, was physically assaulted last Friday for asking a customer to wear a facemask to prevent COVID-19 spread.
According to WNYT, the employee, Younglae Kim, is a recent Albany graduate who was following the New York State’s social distancing guidelines for COVID-19 spread prevention.
The 27-year-old employee told the unidentified attacker that even before entry they would refuse service to anyone without a mask, but was ignored. In the surveillance footage, sent to the Albany Police Department, he already entered the store, before being confronted by Kim.
Kim told WNYT that the situation escalated into one of violent racism when he asked him to “please go out.”
The suspect asked him where he was from and allegedly said, “I don’t wear a mask because of you guys.”
He then spat on Kim’s face, which made him spit back in retaliation. Enraged, he started to punch and kick the employee in the abdomen, knocking him into the metal rods, before Kim fell, bleeding, to the floor.
“The doctor said my nose looked broken,” he said.
According to CBS 6 News, he told Kim to “go back to your country,” as well as adding a slew of racist comments while he was assaulting him.
As a South Korean native, Kim expressed that he wanted to live in the U.S., but after the attack, he’s unsure.
“I really want to live in [the] USA, but, I don’t know anymore…I hope the policemen catch him.”
A customer and a co-worker tried to catch the attacker as he fled but to no avail.
Jessie Park, the store owner’s wife, was left saddened by the situation, she believes that her customers are “good,” and understand the guidelines.
To both news stations, she said, “We are part of the community.”
“We are responsible for protecting my employees and my customers too. I’m really so sad at the situation, but most of my customers are good,” she told CBS 6 News.
To WNYT she said, “I understand that this is a hard time and difficult situation, but I hope everybody can overcome this situation together.”
Albany police investigators are still looking into identifying and finding the suspect.
Feature Image Screenshot via CBS 6 News