Woman charged in US for attacking group of Asian women with pepper spray

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A woman accused of spraying several women with pepper spray while making comments against asians in New York earlier this month now faces multiple allegations, including three of third-degree assault as a hate crime, according to a criminal complaint.

Madeline Barker, 47, was indicted on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told CNN , and bail was set at $20,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for a Thursday, June 23.

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A lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, which represents Barker, could not be reached for comment.

Barker, a resident of Merritt Island, in Florida also faces four counts of aggravated second-degree harassment and one count of attempted third-degree assault as a hate crime, according to the complaint, which details statements given by four alleged victims, all Asian women.

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Each of them told detectives that the accused used pepper spray, hitting three of them but missing the fourth, and said “why don’t you go back to your country?”.

The attack, which was investigated by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, took place on June 11 in Manhattan and was partially captured on video. The footage, released by police, shows a woman brandishing what appeared to be pepper spray.

The woman pepper sprayed four women during the altercation, city police said. The women refused medical attention, according to an earlier statement.

At some point during the altercation, not captured in the video released by NYPD, an Asian man walked past the group on the sidewalk, NYPD Sergeant Anwar Ishmael told AFP. CNN . The suspect allegedly turned to him and said, “take all your bitches back where you came from.”

In addition, according to the complaint, investigators showed a still image taken from a video at the scene of the rear-end attack, which allegedly replied, “It’s me.”

Hate crimes, including those against Asians in the United States, have seen a sharp increase in recent years. THE Covid-19 pandemic has sparked attacks on Asians amid online and political rhetoric that stigmatizes them, but this category of hate crime is often underreported.

Between March 31, 2021, and March 31, 2022, 110 of 577 hate crime incidents targeted Asians, according to the Panel on Hate Crimes of the New York Police. In March 2022 alone, there were nine incidents treated as hate crimes against Asian Americans, with five arrests.

In 2020, attacks against Asians rose nationally to 279, up from 161 in 2019, according to the FBI’s hate crimes report.

And despite the worrying increase in these crimes, a small percentage of reported attacks against Asians end up in convictions.

A report by the Asian American Bar Association of New York found that of the 233 reported attacks against Asian Americans in the city in the first three quarters of 2021, seven led to convictions for hate crimes at the end of May.

Source: CNN Brasil

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