Charge in Manhattan hate crime attack

·2-min read

A New York man previously convicted of murdering his mother has been charged with assaulting a 65-year-old Asian woman in a hate crime attack captured on a video that went viral.

Police have identified Brandon Elliot, 38, as the man seen kicking the woman to the ground and then several more times on Monday near Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

He was due to be arraigned later on Wednesday on two charges of second-degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said.

"Mr Elliot is accused of brutally shoving, kicking and stomping a 65-year-old mother to the ground after telling her that she didn't belong here," Vance said.

"There is no place for these atrocious acts of anti-Asian violence in New York."

Vance added that his office had more than a dozen open cases and ongoing investigations into apparent hate incidents against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community since the start of this year.

NYPD said its Hate Crimes Task Force had been looking for the assailant since Monday afternoon and found Elliot through an investigation that included social media and community tips.

Elliot, who was on lifetime parole, was arrested without incident at his residence on Tuesday.

The New York Times identified the victim of the attack as Vilma Kari, an immigrant from the Philippines, citing a law enforcement source.

According to the paper, Kari suffered a fractured pelvis.

"We want to extend our sincere well wishes and speedy recovery to the elderly lady for this unnecessary assault," Wellington Chen, executive director of New York City's Chinatown Partnership, said on Wednesday.

"Hope this arrest gives her and her family a bit of relief."

There has been an increase in hate crimes reported against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former President Donald Trump often referred to coronavirus as the "China virus" and the "China plague".

Such crimes rose 149 per cent in 2020 in 16 major cities compared with 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

Concern over anti-Asian hate crimes was heightened when six Asian women were among eight people fatally shot this month at Atlanta-area spas.

A 21-year-old man was charged with the murders. Police have yet to determine a motive.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a set of measures responding to anti-Asian violence, including deploying $US49.5 million ($A65.0 million) from COVID-19 relief funds for community programs.

In Monday's attack in New York, a security video showed witnesses inside the lobby of a building apparently watching the assault but making no effort to help the woman.