The New York City Police Department is looking for a woman who assaulted four Asian women with pepper spray in a broad daylight attack in the Meatpacking District on Saturday.
The four women, between the ages of 24 to 25, chose to remain anonymous out of concern for their personal and professional lives. One of the women, identified as Nicole, told NextShark that the attack occurred at around 6:03 p.m. EST.
Nicole and her three friends were walking around the area, which was crowded due to a flower installation, when they crossed the street near West 13th and 9th Ave. The group briefly stopped behind a rock to decide where they would head next when a stranger, who happened to be sitting on one of the rocks with her back facing the group, suddenly turned and allegedly antagonized them.
According to Nicole, the unidentified stranger said, “I know what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to harass me.”
Nicole stated that one of her friends tried to deescalate the situation and even apologized while they all kept their distance. “We aren’t trying to bother you, but you can ask us nicely next time if you want us to move,” she said.
That was when the stranger allegedly began berating the woman with xenophobic insults. She told them to “Go back to the country you came from,” and, “You don’t belong here,” despite the four having lived in New York all their lives.
Nicole argued back that she “was born and raised here” and asked the woman, “How can you be so racist when you’re literally in NYC where there are so many different ethnicities?”
One of her friends attempted to record the encounter but allegedly had her phone slapped out of her hands by the woman. The stranger then purportedly pointed to an unrelated male Asian bystander and told him to “Take your bitches back to your country.”
The friends verbally defended themselves, and Nicole unlocked her phone to record; however, that was when the stranger allegedly pulled out her mace and started spraying all four of them in the face. Nicole said she felt the entire left half of her face and mouth flare-up in searing pain and that she couldn’t open her eyes and was blinded for 25 to 30 minutes from the intense burning sensation.
Nearby bystanders told the attacker to stop, and one of them also recorded the woman attacking the group again as they turned to leave, curving her arm around to spray another one of the friends in the face, as can be seen in a video shared with NextShark.
The group received paramedic care and did not need to go to the hospital. They later filed a report with the 6th precinct, where the NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Nicole and her friends described the attacker as “a woman who was about 5’3- 5’4 [in her] late 40s to late 50s.” The friends also asked the public to respect their privacy and not press them with further inquiries regarding the incident.
Anyone with relevant information about the suspect is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or send a message over Twitter at @NYPDTips.
The pictured individual is Wanted for an Assault that occurred on June 11th on the corner of 9th Avenue and West 14th Street. The perpetrator made xenophobic remarks and discharged pepper spray at 4 female victims. Please contact Crimestoppers (1 800 577-TIPS, @NYPDTips). pic.twitter.com/ypzXxUs6IL
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) June 13, 2022
Featured Image and video via Nicole