New York doormen fired for failing to help assaulted Asian American woman

  • Two workers watched as Vilma Kari, 65, was attacked
  • Company: emergency and safety protocols were not followed

Two employees of a luxury New York City apartment building have been terminated from their jobs after being seen on video failing to aid an Asian American woman who was violently attacked on a sidewalk near the building last month.

The firings were confirmed today by the building’s management company, the Brodsky Organization. The attack took place 29 March not far from Times Square.

Surveillance video showed that the doormen, who watched the assault from the lobby of their building, waited more than a minute after the violence stopped to step outside of the building. The video shows that one of them closed the building’s door as 65-year-old victim Vilma Kari lay on the ground seconds after the attack ended.

By the time the two men came outside to approach the injured woman, the assailant had walked away.

Kari, who emigrated from the Philippines several decades ago, was walking to church when she was repeatedly kicked and stomped by the attacker. She suffered serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis, and spent a day in the hospital.

The Brodsky Organization initially suspended the doormen pending an investigation. That investigation was completed today, resulting in the doormen being fired, the company said.

“While the full lobby video shows that once the assailant had departed, the doormen emerged to assist the victim and flag down an NYPD vehicle, it is clear that required emergency and safety protocols were not followed,” the company said in a statement.

The doormen’s union, SEIU 32BJ, also confirmed that the two men had been fired but declined further comment. The union previously said that the doormen waited until the attacker walked away to check on Kari and flag down a nearby patrol car because they thought he had a knife.

The surveillance video shows a police car pulling up about a minute after the doormen went outside. The workers and officers are seen with her on the sidewalk for several more minutes before the video cuts off.

Brandon Elliot, a 38-year-old parolee convicted of killing his mother nearly two decades ago, was charged with assault and attempted assault as hate crimes. He is scheduled to be arraigned on a felony indictment on 21 April. His lawyers have urged the public to “reserve judgment until all the facts are presented in court”.

Kari’s daughter, Elizabeth Kari, posted Sunday on a fundraising webpage she set up for her mother’s care that Vilma Kari “has been resting these past few days and wants to send her best as your energy, prayers, and thoughts have reached her and our family”.

The attack, among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, drew widespread condemnation and raised alarms about what appeared to be the failure of bystanders to help. Police said no one called 911 and that patrol officers driving by came upon Kari after she was assaulted.

Elizabeth Kari said that a person across the street who was not seen on surveillance video helped by screaming to distract the attacker.

A widely seen snippet of the surveillance video ended as the attacker was walking away from Kari. Elizabeth Kari said that the attacker was crossing the street and heading toward the bystander who screamed at him. That person has remained anonymous, she said.


Mike Jordan

The GuardianTramp

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