Man Charged With Hate Crime for Punching Asian Woman in NYC’s Chinatown Has 40 Prior Arrests


A homeless man charged for sucker-punching a 55-year-old Asian woman in New York City’s Chinatown has a lengthy rap sheet, including multiple arrests for arson and assault in the past year.

The latest: Alexander Wright, 48, was charged with multiple crimes for Monday’s incident, which occurred around 6:15 p.m. on Bayard Street.

  • Surveillance footage of the attack shows the suspect hitting the victim’s face as they crossed each other’s paths outside Kong Sihk Tong restaurant.
  • The victim, who was all by herself, hit the ground and blacked out upon impact.
  • A video of Wright’s arrest, posted by community activist Karlin Chan, shows the suspect blaming the victim for hitting him, but witnesses were quick to debunk his claim.
  • The 48-year-old was charged with felony hate crime assault and misdemeanor assault, as well as criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to NBC New York.
  • The victim was reportedly taken to Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital and has been recovering at home.

A repeat offender: Wright, who lives in a shelter on Wards Island, has been arrested 40 times in the past, according to New York police.

  • On May 10, Wright was arrested for allegedly tossing hot coffee at two traffic agents in Midtown, the New York Post reported.
  • On Friday, he was also arrested for “setting fires,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said, according to CBS New York.
  • “What are we doing in society when we are releasing these people right back onto the streets?” Shea told NY1, according to the New York Daily News. 
  • The commissioner said lawmakers need to revise bail reform laws, according to FOX 5 NY.
  • Shea said the “common denominator” in such incidents are people “arrested multiple times and released.” He also acknowledged the possible role of mental illness — the “common denominator” Inspector Tommy Ng, commander of the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, finds in some anti-Asian attack cases.

Wright was reportedly taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. His arraignment was pending Tuesday.

Featured Image Screenshots via New York Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (left), Karlin Chan (right)

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