A man has been hit with multiple hate crime charges after allegedly attacking an elderly Asian woman in Brooklyn last month.
Hoa Nguyen, 67, was heading to a grocery store at around 9:18 a.m. on Jan. 19 when someone approached her and punched her in the face three times.
The incident, which occurred on Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill, left Nguyen with bruises and swelling in her head, neck and chest.
Speaking to ABC7 News reporter CeFaan Kim, Nguyen said her assailant had to dart around another woman to approach her, suggesting that she was targeted.
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Nguyen managed to call her son, who then called 911.
Minutes later, police arrested 52-year-old Mercel Jackson, who reportedly admitted to attacking Nguyen because he “doesn’t like how Chinese people look.” He told police that he “thinks Chinese people look like measles” and also “doesn’t like Chinese people looking at [him].” Additionally, Jackson allegedly stated that Chinese people should not be in the country.
Nguyen, however, is a Vietnamese refugee who came to the U.S. with her husband and their infant son in 1981.
On Thursday, Jackson, who was reported to be homeless, was charged with second-degree assault, second-degree attempted assault, third-degree assault, third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree attempted assault, third-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, second-degree harassment and second-degree aggravated harassment, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.
“This cowardly attack against a vulnerable member of our community will not be tolerated in Brooklyn,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our partners in communities across the borough to take a strong stand against hate crimes and pledge to bring to justice those who attack individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”
Jackson is reportedly being held on a $2,000 bail. He will be back in court on April 5.