A staff member at a Midtown Manhattan building who witnessed a brutal, bias-filled beating outside the location Monday morning and did nothing to stop it has been suspended without pay.
The worker is part of the door staff at an apartment building on West 43rd Street, where a 65-year-old woman was assaulted on the morning of March 29. Police reported that the victim’s attacker, a man, repeatedly punched and kicked her, then shouted anti-Asian statements toward her.
Security video of the attack, taken from inside the apartment building, shows the door staff member looking on at the assault, but doing nothing to intervene.
The building is owned and operated by the Brodsky Organization, which not only condemned the heinous attack but also suspended the bystanding worker shown in the video.
“The staff who witnessed the attack have been suspended pending an investigation in conjunction with their union,” the Brodsky Organization stated in a post to Instagram. “The Brodsky Organization is also working to identify a third-party delivery vendor present during the incident so that appropriate action can be taken.”
Kyle Bragg — president of SEIU 32BJ, which represents the suspended employee — confirmed the worker’s suspension, and said the union is cooperating with the management company in investigating the matter.
“The information we have at the moment is that the door staff, members of SEIU 32BJ, called for help immediately,” Bragg said. “The staff in question has been suspended pending further investigation. Our union is working to get further details for a more complete account, and urge the public to avoid a rush to judgment while the facts are determined.”
Bragg said that the union “unequivocally condemn[s] all acts of hate against the AAPI community,” and is “disgusted and outraged by the attack, and stand with our AAPI members who have increasingly faced this kind of hatred in their daily lives.”
Video of the attack, even amid a time of public anger over the recent rash of hate crimes targeting Asian New Yorkers, evoked even stronger outrage from elected officials across the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was particularly apoplectic about the events during his press briefing Tuesday. He called the security guard’s failure to intervene “absolutely unacceptable.”
“Look, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you got to help your fellow New Yorker,” said de Blasio. “Do whatever you can, make noise, callout what’s happening, go and help, immediately call for help, call 911. This is something where we all have to be part of the solution, we can’t just stand back and watch a heinous act happening. I think for so many Asian American New Yorkers who are feeling isolated, feeling fearful, they need to know they have solidarity of all New Yorkers and support.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo seconded those emotions in announcing Tuesday that he’s directing the New York State Police’s Hate Crime to offer their assistance to the NYPD in finding the attacker.
“The reports of a brutal assault on an Asian American woman in Midtown are absolutely horrifying and repugnant. We are all New Yorkers — no matter how we look or what language we speak — and we must always look out for one another and help those who need it,” Cuomo said.
The investigation into the attack continues, and anyone with information regarding the assailant’s whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.
With reporting by Ariama C. Long