A video showing an Asian man being held and beaten by at least three men at a subway station in New York City went viral over the weekend.
The incident, now under investigation, reportedly occurred on the A/C platform in the Fulton Street station at around 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
The video was first posted by a Twitter account called Asian Crime Report, which claimed to have received it from an Instagram follower with no additional context.
In the video, the Asian man is seen being restrained from behind by a Black man, while two other Black men punch him on separate occasions.
The first attacker, who was wearing a red cap and a blue hooded jacket, struck the victim in the face once, causing his entire body to go limp.
The second attacker, who was wearing a black cap and a white T-shirt, approached the victim seconds later and punched the man multiple times in his head and face.
The man holding the victim, who was wearing a black cap and a black sweatshirt, can be seen smiling as the assault unfolded.
A crowd can also be heard laughing at the scene, with no one seen stepping up to intervene.
Allegations explaining the motive behind the beating have since surfaced. Some Twitter users claimed that the Asian man attempted to sexually assault a woman on the train and what the video shows is a display of vigilante justice.
A 35-year-old man who claimed to have recorded the video told the New York Post that he was on his way home when he came across the commotion. He said the man holding the Asian man claimed that the latter had sexually assaulted a woman, so he pulled him off the train and onto the platform.
The recorder said the man restraining the Asian man asked him to call the police. However, no one arrived after 20 minutes, so he made a second call.
Though not shown in the video, the filmer said the Asian man tried to get away “the entire time.” He also recalled him challenging the mob’s allegations.
“Yeah, so what? Do you have it on camera?” he quoted the Asian man as saying.
The filmer claimed that the incident was not “race-related,” but was in response to the alleged sexual assault. Still, he described it as “completely bonkers.”
The video posted by Asian Crime Report has been viewed over 1.6 million times as of this writing. The New York Police Department has also opened an investigation into the incident.
As of Monday, the department said they have very limited information about the attack, according to Fox News. They said the Asian man has not come forward and they have not received information to corroborate the sexual assault allegation.
The department today released the following statement to NextShark:
“NYPD investigators, across several bureaus, are continuing to work together to achieve justice for individuals affected by a series of events on Friday in the transit system in Lower Manhattan. Detectives alerted to video clips posted to social media on Sunday, showing a man being assaulted, are tracing the incident backwards from that moment on a Fulton Avenue train platform in their ongoing work to identify those involved, gather evidence, and find and interview all witnesses. Simultaneously, their work has been focused on determining a possible motive, and piecing together reports of an earlier interaction involving the assaulted man and others on a moving train car prior to the assault captured in the brief, and incomplete, images posted to social media.”
“Preliminarily, the episode appears to have unfolded in stages. The officers originally responding Friday to a 911 call at 3:34 pm had the situation on the platform under control within 15 minutes, though many of those involved were no longer present and must be tracked down. Investigators are working so the incident is comprehensively understood, and to identify all potential victims and all potential assailants — including those who may fit into both categories.”
“The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, officers from the Department’s Detective and Transit bureaus, and others are working in tandem, while also conferring in real time with prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office. There have been no charges filed at this time as the investigation is ongoing and active.”
Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls are confidential.