Police in Yonkers, New York, released details Monday about a racist and violent assault on an older Asian-American woman, calling it “one of the most appalling attacks” they’ve ever investigated, and announced an arrest in the case.
The Friday attack, which was captured on surveillance video released by police, shows a man following a 67-year-old woman as she enters her apartment building and then brutally beating her about the head, delivering more than 125 blows. He is then seen stomping on her seven times and spitting on her as she lay bloodied on the floor.
The minutes-long video was released publicly (however, a warning that it is graphic and disturbing).
The woman is currently hospitalized and in stable condition as she recovers from facial bone fractures, bleeding on her brain, bruising and lacerations, police say.
The suspect has been identified as 42-year-old Tammel Esco. He’s been arrested and charged with two violent felonies: attempted murder as a hate crime and assault as a hate crime.
According to the police report, the attacker called the woman an “Asian bitch” when she passed by him outside the building. After she ignored his comment, he followed her inside.
“This is one of the most appalling attacks I have ever seen; to beat a helpless woman is despicable and targeting her because of her race makes it more so,” Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller said in a statement. “This defendant must be held to the maximum punishment allowed by law to send a clear message that hateful, violent behavior will not be tolerated in our communities.”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano echoed Mueller’s outrage.
“Hate crimes are beyond intolerable in our city. I applaud our Yonkers Police for swiftly apprehending this violent criminal and removing him from our streets.”
Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Former President Donald Trump, along with many other high-profile conservative leaders, pulled Asians into the spotlight as targets by insisted on calling the coronavirus the “China virus,” “kung flu” and other racist names throughout the last year of his presidency.
According to the group Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander people, there were nearly 11,000 hate incidents against AAPI people from March 2020 through the end of last year.