A man accused of committing a hate crime against an Asian man and his 10-year-old son amid the on-going 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been arrested.
The man, identified as 44-year-old Raoul Ramos, was arrested and charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime and issued a desk appearance ticket for the attack, according to New York Post.
The incident occurred on Thursday when the victim, a 47-year-old Hong Kong-born man, who wants to be identified only by his first name, Jeff, and has been living in the U.S. for 35 years, was walking his 10-year-old son to a bus stop near 70th Avenue and Queens Boulevard at around 6:50 a.m. That’s when Ramos approached them.
“The guy walked past us. That triggered him. He was screaming at us and said, ‘Where the f–k is your mask?!’” the victim told New York Post. “I turned around to look at this guy — I’ve lived in New York [for] a long time, I’ve seen all kinds of crazy people around — usually, we just ignore them, but he was cursing and yelling.”
Ramos then allegedly shouted, “You f–king Chinese!”
“I tried not to do anything like yelling back at him because my son was there,” Jeff told Patch.
The suspect continued to follow the victim and his 10-year-old son to a packed bus stop.
🚨WANTED🚨for an Aggravated Harassment at the corner of 70 Avenue and Queens Boulevard #foresthills #Queens @NYPD112Pct On 03/12/20 @ 6:50AM💰Reward up to $2500👓Seen him? Know who he is?☎️Call 1-800-577-TIPS or DM us!📞Calls are CONFIDENTIAL! #yourcityyourcall pic.twitter.com/HoQH6VklC8
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) March 14, 2020
Ramos reportedly took off after a police car pulled up on the scene and an NYPD officer asked what was going on. Authorities then tried to chase after the man but to no avail.
The victim was initially apprehensive to file an official police report as he thought the picture and videos that he took of Ramos wouldn’t be enough to identify the suspect.
A witness, an unnamed Asian mother from Forest Hills, corroborated the victim’s story in an interview with Patch and described Ramos’ clothing at the time of the incident, saying he was wearing camouflage-print clothing and purple medical gloves. She said she saw Ramos swinging his arms to hit the victim.
“I was rattled,” she said. “Those purple gloves, I won’t forget.”
After what happened, Jeff hopes to teach his son to be more aware of his surroundings.
“I told my son to avoid this kind of situation first but if there’s no other choice, then be strong and stand up for yourself,” the man said. “He’s a very quiet kid. I asked him if he was scared this morning he said ‘a little bit.’ When he came back from school, he didn’t talk to me. He doesn’t know how to react.”
Jeff also expressed his confusion about why this happened to him, considering how long he has lived in New York.
“I don’t know why he’s attacking us with my kid in front of me,” he added. “I lived here so long. This is the first time it has happened to me.”
Feature Image via @NYPD112pct