A pregnant Asian American woman and her young daughter were allegedly attacked by a female panhandler in Philadelphia last week.
Verbal and physical: Philadelphia police are tracking down the suspect who punched a pregnant woman and called her slurs in front of her 12-year-old daughter, WPVI reports.
- According to Jing Chen, she was walking with her daughter along 13th and Walnut Street last week when the incident happened.
- The stranger reportedly appeared out of nowhere and started spraying them with water. When Chen asked the woman why she did this, she responded by saying, “You (expletive), Chinese (expletive).”
- “So, I, as a mom said, ‘You too!’ She went back to me in front of my face and I asked her, ‘What you gonna do I’m pregnant, are you going to hurt me?'” Chen recalled.
- The suspect, identified as Delores Marte, then looked at Chen’s belly before saying “So what?” and then punched her on the face.
- Chen has since warned other Chinese American families in their area about her attacker via a community WeChat group.
- “What happened last week, I haven’t left the house since yesterday. As soon as I went out of the house, I ran into her and it made me feel like, I’m so scared,” she said.
Not a hate crime: While the local authorities are currently not considering the case as a hate crime, others think otherwise.
- Chinatown Disability Advocacy Project’s Anna Perng says the attack was intentional and the suspect mentioned Chen’s race as an insult.
- “The assailant deliberately crossed the street and singled them out and then mentioned race during the attack,” said Perng.
- If caught, Marte will be charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.
- The DA’s office released a statement acknowledging possible additional charges following an investigation.
- “This is an active investigation and we have not ruled out additional charges, but there is not sufficient evidence that has been presented to us that this is a case of ethnic intimidation at this time,” the statement read.
- Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation executive director John Chin said: “I think just being in this environment of COVID-19, there’s a really heightened fear and concern about anti-Asian sentiment.”
Local advocates in Philadelphia’s Asian community are now seeking a meeting with city leaders to address the racial issue that many believe has been ongoing.