Many questions remain unanswered regarding a viral video showing a vicious assault of an Asian man at the Fulton Street subway station in Lower Manhattan last week.
For starters, police sources said, they’ve yet to pin down the exact motive for the attack in which two men pummeled a restrained, 42-year-old male victim with their fists. As the video went viral on social media, rumors circulated that it may have been retaliation for an alleged sexual assault, but police sources could not confirm those claims.
The suspects themselves remain at large as of Tuesday morning, with the NYPD releasing both edited footage of the assault and images of the perpetrators. Police sources also did not know whether the victim had sought medical treatment for injuries sustained in the beating.
The video provoked a wild array of emotions on Twitter and caught the attention of local elected officials, many of whom demanded justice for the victim.
A Twitter account known as “Asian Crime Report” first posted the video on May 29. The account’s profile notes that it’s based in San Francisco, and is focused on “raising awareness of anti-Asian violence and racism in” America.
In the tweet showing the video, Asian Crime Report wrote, “New York subways are not safe. Video sent in by follower.” In a follow-up tweet, the user added, “We have zero details about this attack. A [sic] Instagram follower sent us the video with no other context.”
Through an investigation, police determined that the assault occurred at 3:30 p.m. on May 27 at the A/C train platform of the Fulton Street subway station in Manhattan.
The edited clip that the NYPD released Monday night shows one man, wearing a blue shirt and a Los Angeles Angels baseball cap, throwing a punch at the victim — who was held back by a second unidentified perpetrator. The blow landed squarely on the man’s left cheek, prompting hollers and laughter from some on-lookers off-camera, as the visibly disoriented victim’s head slumped down.
Seconds later, the restrained man was pulled back up to get a second series of fists thrown by a third unidentified suspect.
Citing an eyewitness, ABC News reporter CeFaan Kim tweeted Monday morning that the victim had allegedly attempted to sexually assault a woman on the train, and that others intervened to stop it.
But when contacted by amNewYork Metro Tuesday, a police source indicated that those reports could not be confirmed, adding that it remains part of the active, ongoing investigation.
Nonetheless, the viral video was retweeted more than 5,000 times, including by numerous local elected officials including Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng: “We need answers and justice,” she tweeted.
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou had questions of her own: “Where are the transit cameras? Where are the police that usually are all over this station? What happened here? What happened prior to this video and what happened after? Did anyone help?”
Queens Assembly Member Ron Kim also expressed outrage: “This is absolutely horrendous and beyond infuriating. Please help identify and catch these cowards ASAP.”
Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, a Republican candidate for governor, took the opportunity to attack an allegedly weakened criminal justice system and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg: “New York’s Asian American community is under attack. Raw, violent hate, using hands, knives, hammers, & more are causing serious bodily harm on others & even death. We need to back the blue, FIRE Bragg, repeal cashless bail, & much more to regain control of our streets & subways.”
In the meantime, the NYPD needs the public’s help in identifying all parties involved in the attack.
Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.