Babilonia was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with felony assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, according to the New York Post.
“In this case, the defendant approached, followed, and attacked an Asian man on the street, calling him ‘stupid chino’ after the complainant refused to give him money, and causing a large gash to the complainant’s forehead,” said Assistant District Attorney Yesenia Brewster, according to the New York Daily News.
Babilonia has a lengthy criminal record, including a 2016 conviction for failure to register an address.
Meanwhile, Laisa Pertet, Babilonia’s attorney, said that her client has mental health issues, lives in poverty and has no family. She said he may be guilty of panhandling and misdemeanor assault, but not a hate crime.
“This person was not intentionally selected as would be required [under the law],” Pertet said. “The mere mention of ‘Chino’ translates to ‘Chinese’ in Spanish does not support the idea that this was a hateful, intentional offense based on race.”
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