Activists gathered in Lower Manhattan early Monday to again demand an end to the recent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes that have left some New Yorkers feeling like prisoners in their own homes.
The rally unfolded outside Manhattan criminal court ahead of a hearing in the case of Brandon Elliot, the paroled killer charged with pummeling a 65-year-old Filipino-American woman in broad daylight without provocation.
“We have to stop this,” said Wai Wah Chin, founding president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York. “First we stop the crimes, then we stop the hate.”
Chin said that the recent spike in hate assaults has left some Asian Americans, particularly the elderly, afraid to set foot outside their doors.
“They are scared,” she said. “They are imprisoned by the crime in the streets and in the subways.”
Chin even said that the uptick in assaults has led to a run on canes in city stores — not because their buyers need them to walk, but for use in possible self-defense.
The gathering was punctuated by chants of “This must stop!” and participants held signs with messages including, “Are there more Brandon Elliots out there?”
Elliot, 38, allegedly jumped Vilma Kari as she walked along West 43rd Street last week, beating her without being set off by anything immediately apparent.
“You don’t belong here!” Elliot allegedly snarled at Kari, along with anti-Asian slurs, authorities have said.
As Elliot allegedly laid into the defenseless senior, no bystanders stepped in to help or call 911 — and one area security guard even locked himself inside his building for safety.
At a court hearing scheduled for later Monday, officials were set to announce whether an indictment was prepared for Elliot, who was on parole for the fatal 2002 stabbing of his mother.
He was not expected to appear at the brief hearing.
Prosecutors charged him last week with multiple accounts of assault as a hate crime.
Also speaking at the rally, Guardian Angels founder and 2021 mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa pointed to the recent decision by the City Council to end qualified immunity for NYPD officers — opening them up to civil lawsuits for their on-the-job actions — as sending a soft-on-crime message.
“When you see people who don’t get involved … what is the message we’re sending to our own citizens when we won’t even protect our police officers?” railed Sliwa. “They’re basically, in City Hall, saying — Comrade [Mayor Bill] de Blasio — ‘Mind your own business.’
“Well I say to the Asian community and all communities, we don’t mind our own business. We fight back!”
Though unable to attend the event in person due to COVID-19 precautions, Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato issued a statement read at the rally.
“I can see in Vilma the face of my own mother and other elderly Asian women living in New York, who, due to the recent spate of violence against Asians, would not even want to leave the safety of their homes anymore for fear that they, too, would be violently assaulted,” it read in part.
“Today, Brandon Elliot will appear in this Criminal Court,” it continued. “And to him we say Vilma belongs here, Asians in New York belong here, everyone belongs here.”
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