NYC man charged with hate crimes in attack on Asian woman

February 18, 2022 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — A Brooklyn man punched an Asian American woman in the face in an unprovoked attack and later told police that “Chinese people are not supposed to be in this country,” prosecutors said.

Mercel Jackson, 52, was arraigned Thursday on charges including assault, attempted assault as a hate crime and menacing as a hate crime in the Jan. 19 attack, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced.

“This cowardly attack against a vulnerable member of our community will not be tolerated in Brooklyn,” Gonzalez said in a news release. “We will continue to work with our partners in communities across the borough to take a strong stand against hate crimes and pledge to bring to justice those who attack individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”

According to prosecutors, a 67-year-old Asian American woman was walking to a store in the Clinton Hill neighborhood when she heard yelling and saw Jackson walking toward her.

Jackson approached the woman and punched her in the face three times, causing bruising and swelling, prosecutors said.

Officers canvassed the area and arrested Jackson, who told police that Chinese people are not supposed to be in this country and that they “look like the measles,” the district attorney said.

Jackson was ordered held on $2,000 bail. A spokesperson for the Legal Aid Society of New York, which is representing him, said the organization had no comment.

The assault was one of a string of attacks on people of Asian descent in New York City, including the fatal stabbing of Christina Yuna Lee in her lower Manhattan apartment on Sunday. Police arrested a man who they said stabbed Lee after following her into her building.