Albuquerque police are looking to identify a man who spewed racial slurs while assaulting a massage therapist last year after she refused to give him a massage.
The incident happened in December 2020 when the man walked into a massage parlor in Northeast Albuquerque without wearing a mask, according to KOB4. The victim, who wished to remain unnamed, asked him to wear a mask, but he refused.
The man started physically and verbally attacking the massage therapist when she refused to give him a massage. She said he called her “Chinese virus” among other racial slurs during the assault.
The victim suffered injuries from "head to toe," Sgt. Gerard Bartlett of APD’s Violence Intervention Unit said.
“She had muscle strains. She had abrasions everywhere. She also had an extreme amount of inflammation to her chest area and some bruising on her ribs making it difficult to breathe,” Sgt. Bartlett added. “She also discussed not being able to work for a period of time after the attack.”
Although the victim initially did not see the need for medical assistance, by the next morning, she wrote a letter to an advocacy group, instructing them to notify her family if she were to succumb to her injuries.
At the emergency room, she was reportedly told by a translator that another employee was attacked by a customer the day before.
Sgt. Bartlett said they are now in contact with the District Attorney’s office to increase the charges to the suspect from a "misdemeanor count of aggravated battery, leaving painful temporary disfigurement" to a possible felony crime.
The APD is now opening an investigation to determine if what happened was a hate crime.
News of the incident comes a little over a month since the Atlanta spa shootings in March that left eight victims dead, six of whom were Asian women. Since the shootings, hundreds of #StopAsianHate supporters have rallied against anti-Asian violence and held vigils for the bereaved families of the victims and for those without.
Police say that the suspect was last seen driving a white Ford with Florida plates CLW4172.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP or visit the Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers website.
Featured Image via APD
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