The New York Police Department recommended a hate crime charge against a man who punched a 55-year-old Asian woman in an unprovoked attack in Chinatown on Monday night, the NYPD said in a release.
The unnamed victim was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, police said.
Alexander Wright, 48, was taken into custody and charged with assault as a hate crime, assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to the release. He was removed to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation, and the drug K2 was allegedly recovered, police said.
K2, also known as “spice,” is a mixture of herbs, spices or shredded plant material that has been sprayed with chemicals that are similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
CNN has reached out to the District Attorney to ask what charges will ultimately be filed. CNN is working to identify an attorney for the accused.
A video of the incident, tweeted by New York Assemb. Yuh-Line Niou and confirmed as accurate by NYPD Lt. Paul Ng, shows a woman casually walking on the sidewalk by several outdoor diners when a man approaches her and suddenly punches her in the face.
The force of the punch knocks her hat off and sends her stumbling back to the ground, the video shows. Several people then go to check on her while the assailant stands nearby.
The incident is part of a series of unprovoked attacks on older Asians over the past few months amid a rise in anti-Asian hatred. Reported hate crimes against Asians in 16 of the nation’s largest cities and counties were up 164% since this time last year, according to a study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University San Bernardino.