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Woman charged with hate crime over anti-Asian pepper spray attack in NYC



New York City authorities charged a woman with hate crimes in relation to an anti-Asian attack in Manhattan this month.

Madeline Barker, 47, was arraigned on multiple charges Saturday, including four counts of second-degree aggravated harassment and three counts of third assault as a hate crime, according to court records. She was also charged with a single count of attempted assault as a hate crime.

Police said they were looking for Barker after a video showed her making anti-Asian remarks and pepper-spraying four people near Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Barker confirmed her identity with authorities when she was shown a still image from the video, said a complaint filed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The four women who were pepper-sprayed, who all identify as Asian, told authorities that Barker told them, “Why don’t you go back to your country,” according to the complaint.

The victims, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC 7 that they were checking out a flower installation when the woman suddenly picked a fight with them, and after accusing them of harassing her, the woman pepper sprayed the four.

‘It was so painful, one victim said. ‘I couldn’t open my eyes for about 30 minutes.’
A bystander then filmed the victims walking away from the argument, but the woman continued to shout at them and walks up behind one of the women and blasts her directly in the eyes with the pepper spray before leaving the area.

The K-pop group BTS appeared at the White House last month to raise awareness about the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, which have particularly targeted women and the elderly.
Amanda Nguyen, CEO of the civil rights nonprofit Rise, told The Washington Post Live in March that the “intersection of race and gender is one that we cannot overlook.”

“Unfortunately, these acts of violence that have been targeted toward the Asian American community, especially women, have existed pre-covid,” she said. “The pandemic absolutely exacerbated these issues, especially when we had leaders saying things like ‘China virus’ or ‘China flu.’”

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