New York man charged with hate crimes for attacks on seven Asian American women

Manhattan district attorney says the charges are ‘sobering reminder’ of the fears AAPI women in particular face

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has announced hate crime charges relating to assaults against seven Asian American women in New York City in February.

Steven Zajonc, 28, has been charged in New York state supreme court with six felony counts of assault in the third degree as a hate crime and seven counts of aggravated harassment in the second degree as a misdemeanor hate crime.

On 27 February, it is alleged, Zajonc punched, shoved and elbowed seven Asian women in Manhattan without provocation.

The first attack occurred at 6.30pm in midtown, when a 57-year-old Asian woman was punched in the face. The woman suffered swelling to her left cheek and a cut lip, authorities said.

Zajonc is alleged to have approached a 25-year-old Asian woman near Fifth Avenue and East 30th Street 10 minutes later, hitting her in the face and the back of the arm.

He is alleged to have repeated the pattern several times over the next hour, hitting young Asian women – aged 21, 25, 19 and 25 – in the face, shoving another woman, aged 20, to the ground near Broadway and East 8th Street, then fleeing westward.

Zajonc was arrested a few days later outside a library in midtown Manhattan, after two security guards recognized him from surveillance videos.

“These attacks on seven New York women, each fueled by anti-Asian hate, are yet another sobering reminder of the demonstrable fears AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] communities, particularly AAPI women, in our city continue to face,” Bragg said.

“This indictment is a result of our collaboration with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force and, critically, assistance from the brave witnesses and victims who came forward to stand up against hate. My office is a safe place to report crimes regardless of your immigration status.”

Six of the victims suffered injuries, among them bleeding lacerations and facial bruising. Another was knocked unconscious and treated for concussion.

The Manhattan DA’s office has 27 open hate crime cases related to anti-Asian hate crimes.

Across the US, anti-AAPI hate crime was up 339% last year.

Last August, Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks and responds to racially motivated hate crimes, said more than 9,000 anti-Asian incidents had been reported since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic spread to the US from China.

New York City has seen an alarming rise in violence against Asian Americans. Four have died.

They were: GuiYing Ma, 62, who was attacked by a man with a rock in Queens; Yao Pan Ma, 61, who was attacked while collecting cans in East Harlem; Michelle Go, 40, who was pushed on to subway tracks at Times Square; and Christina Yuna Lee, 35, who was stabbed 40 times in her Chinatown apartment.


Maya Yang in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Man charged with hate crimes after seven Asian American women assaulted in New York
Police say Steven Zajonc punched, shoved or elbowed seven women in a two-hour span on Sunday

Maya Yang

03, Mar, 2022 @9:44 PM

Article image
New York police search for suspect who assaulted seven Asian women
In the span of two hours on Sunday night, a man allegedly punched, shoved or elbowed the women without provocation

Maya Yang

02, Mar, 2022 @7:55 PM

Article image
Hundreds at New York mosque mourn woman murdered in 'hate crime'
Nazma Khanam’s death comes just weeks after two men were shot in the back of the head after midday prayers, rocking the Queens Bangladeshi community

Mazin Sidahmed

03, Sep, 2016 @11:30 AM

Article image
New York man arrested after punching Asian woman 125 times, police say
Victim, 67, was entering her apartment building when Tammel Esco approached her from behind, Yonkers police said

Maya Yang in New York

15, Mar, 2022 @2:29 PM

Article image
A Lynching at Port Jervis review: timely history of New York race hate
In the wake of the Buffalo shooting, Philip Dray’s account of a terrible incident from 1892 seems dreadfully familiar

Michael Henry Adams

22, May, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Asian woman, 62, attacked with rock in New York dies after 10 weeks in coma
GuiYing Ma, 62, allegedly struck outside her home in Queens in November, was fourth Asian American killed in city in two months

Maya Yang in New York

01, Mar, 2022 @4:50 PM

Article image
New York announces country's first major policy initiative for young women
City council speaker reveals more than 100 policy recommendations, including free long-term contraceptives and expanding job programs

Amber Jamieson in New York

16, May, 2016 @9:43 PM

Article image
‘An unspoken epidemic’: Homicide rate increase for Black women rivals that of Black men
Five Black women and girls were killed each day in 2020, most of them with guns. Gender violence must be at the center of the gun debate, advocates say

Lois Beckett and Abené Clayton

25, Jun, 2022 @9:00 AM

Article image
New York doormen fired for failing to help assaulted Asian American woman
Two workers watched as Vilma Kari, 65, was attacked as company says emergency and safety protocols were not followed

Mike Jordan

06, Apr, 2021 @7:03 PM

Article image
Two women stabbed in San Francisco amid rise in anti-Asian attacks
Police arrest a 54-year-old man over stabbing of two women, one 63 and the second 84, while waiting for the bus

Lauren Aratani

06, May, 2021 @4:41 PM