Surveillance footage has captured the moment that an Asian woman, 27, was slapped in broad daylight by a homeless man in Center City, Philadelphia.
The attack happened on Easter Sunday at around 2 p.m. at 11th and Filbert Streets, around the corner from Reading Terminal near Chinatown. The suspect, identified by police as Alex White, 30, approached two women walking down the street and slapped one of them in the face, according to NBC Philadelphia
An unnamed man who was near the incident was able to provide the footage obtained from his security cameras. Speaking to 6ABC
, he said he checked the camera after hearing an “eerie scream.”
“I could hear it was a constant kind of like a cry, so I looked up at my camera,” he said. “On Easter Sunday, nobody expects to have your head almost taken off by a smack.”
Passersby came to check on the victim while one of the witnesses reported the incident to the police. The camera managed to capture the suspect’s arrest one block down on 11th and Arch Street.
Authorities concluded the attack was random and not racially motivated, as nothing racial was said to the victim, who is of Asian descent.
“You don’t have to have someone verbalizing that it’s a racially motivated attack, if it seems like the person being attacked is Asian when everybody else surrounding is not,” Dr. Karen Tang, who advocates against the discrimination and violence the Asian community is facing, told NBC Philadelphia.
“If you have a string of completely random isolated attacks on people who are Asian, it forms a pattern,” she said. “I worked in the Philadelphia hospitals and very often walked in that same area. That’s what is so chilling.”
Buu Ly, who owns a bar just up the street from the incident, said he found it “disturbing” to see the woman being hit.
“If you’re speaking of the Asian community, the elders are very concerned. They’re very concerned walking down the street,” he added.
“Get our streets back, so people feel safe again,” Councilmember Mark Squilla said on the latest anti-Asian attacks. “Because right now, they do not feel safe because they think the lawlessness is running rampant throughout the city.”
The victim was transported to Jefferson University Hospital, and police say she is in stable condition.
An investigation by the city’s Central Detectives Division is ongoing.