A woman of Asian descent was violently assaulted in New York City on Sunday while she was traveling to a protest against anti-Asian violence in what police are calling a hate crime.
The 37-year-old woman, who was not identified, was walking in lower Manhattan when a man approached her and snatched her protest sign, the New York Police Department said Monday.
"The individual attempted to place the sign into a garbage can but then placed the sign on the ground and stomped on it," the NYPD said. "When the victim asked the male why he did that, he punched her twice in the face with a closed fist."
The suspect fled onto the nearby Astor Place subway station and the victim was treated for minor injuries at a city hospital, according to police.
The NYPD said its Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.
"The unidentified male is described as being approximately 6'1" tall, 200 pounds, with a medium complexion, slim build, black hair, last seen wearing a red Chicago Bulls hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, a black baseball hat, a black face mask, black sneakers and carrying a green back pack," the police said in its public request for help identifying the suspect.
NBC News reported that activists have counted nearly 4,000 hate crimes targeting the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community in the past year, with women being the majority of those targeted.
A suspect was charged with eight counts of murder last week for what police say was a shooting rampage across multiple Georgia counties, mostly targeting women of Asian descent.
The mass shooting has renewed calls for racial justice across the country, including the event that the New York City victim was trying to attend when she was targeted in this alleged hate crime, police said.