Asian man waiting for Manhattan subway hit in chest by bigoted stranger invoking Bruce Lee

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Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News
·2 min read
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An Asian man waiting for a Manhattan subway train was hit in the chest by a bigoted stranger who invoked the name of Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee, cops said Thursday.

The 42-year-old victim was waiting for a Brooklyn-bound B train at the W. 86th St. station on the Upper West Side when Janaria Kelley, 55, allegedly accosted him just before 3 p.m. Wednesday

“If you’re not Bruce Lee, then f--- off!” Kelley yelled without provocation before striking the victim in the chest, according to cops.

When cops were called to the station, Kelley, of Brooklyn, was still on the platform. He was arrested without incident and charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime and attempted assault.

His victim was not seriously hurt and declined medical attention.

The attack is the latest in a string of anti-Asian assaults plaguing the city.

Kelley’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court was pending Thursday.

It’s his second arrest in less than a month, police said. On March 10, cops arrested him on sexual abuse and forcible touching charges after he touched a 68-year-old Asian woman’s leg on Canal St. near Elizabeth St. in Chinatown, cops said.

“After an unprovoked assault of an Asian man tonight, @NYPDTransit cops quickly arrested the offender,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted. “His 2nd arrest in less than 30 days, he was due back in court later this month on a sex crime. NYers deserve better than a broken, revolving door criminal justice system.”

Kelley has been arrested five other times dating back to 2015, officials said. All of the arrests involved misdemeanors for criminal mischief, resisting arrest and menacing.

Cops have logged about three dozen crimes against Asian New Yorkers this year. Most of the attacks are fueled by ignorant rhetoric over COVID and many suspects are mentally ill, Shea said during an interview on CNN Friday.