A 47-year-old Queens man has been arrested for allegedly attacking a woman without provocation on a Queens sidewalk Wednesday afternoon.
Video shows the man throwing an object at a 52-year-old woman outside 135-45 Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, and then, as she walks backwards, shoving her to the sidewalk.
The victim, who had been waiting on line outside a bakery, struck her head on the cement, and was taken to Booth Memorial Hospital. She required 5-10 stitches on her forehead, according to her family. The actress Olivia Munn also asked her social media followers to help find the suspect:
The victim's daughter, Maggie Kayla Cheng, wrote on Facebook, "This douchebag was yelling out racial slurs, walks into my mom and shoved my mother on Main street and Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens today. He shoved her with such force that she hit her head on the concrete and passed out on the floor. She received 5-10 stitches on her forehead, spending 4-5 hours in the hospital. Hate crime has no place in our community. How you go up against a 5'3 110-115 lbs lady?"
By Thursday morning, the police announced that Patrick Mateo, 47, was arrested on charges of assault and harassment. Witness Derrick Chan told WABC 7, "The guy just peeped out of the coffee shop and he goes 'I'll eff you up! And then all of a sudden he comes out and tosses like a box of spoons at her. And then just does a football sack and pushed her to the ground."
It is unclear whether the attack is racially motivated—the victim's son said investigators believe the dispute was over social distancing at this point—but the incident comes as more violent acts against Asians in the country are reported. An 84-year-old Thai man died after being shoved in San Francisco earlier this month, and a 61-year-old Filipino man was slashed across the face on an L train in NYC, also in February.
Two Asian women were attacked in the NYC subway system on Tuesday: Just before 7 a.m. at the 125th and St. Nicholas Avenue station, a 68-year-old woman was punched in the back of the head while she waited for an A train. In the second assault, at 11:45 a.m., a 71-year-old woman on a southbound E train was punched in the face while the train was between 5th and 7th Avenues.
The police have not concluded these incidents were specifically hate crimes against Asians, but the victim in the E train attack told WABC 7 she believed she was targeted due to her race, because two other non-Asian women were sitting next to her, yet she was the one who was struck.
Last August, amid a rise in both physical and verbal anti-Asian incidents, the NYPD convened an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. At the time, NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison explained, "This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers."