An Asian man who was brutally attacked in Harlem last year has died, New York police confirmed Saturday. Yao Pan Ma, 61, died of his injuries on December 31, police said, and the case is now being treated as a homicide.
Ma was tackled from behind and hit on the back on April 23. He fell to the ground and the suspect allegedly kicked him several times in the head before fleeing, police said. Ma was taken to the hospital where she remained until her death.
Jarrod Powell, 49, was arrested four days later and charged with attempted murder and two counts of assault: hate crimes. The exact charges he now faces are still unclear.
The attack, which is still being investigated, came amid a surge in hate crimes against Asians in the US. study found that reports of hate crimes against Asians increased by nearly 150% in 2020, even as hate crimes overall fell 7%. New York saw the highest jump in the reports.
As of August last year, more than 9,000 anti-Asian incidents had been reported since the start of the pandemic, according to a report by the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate coalition. Some have blamed the rise in discrimination against Asian Americans on former President Trump. rhetoric in his description of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ma’s wife, Baozhen Chen, spoke to CBS New York in April when her husband was in a coma.
“This shouldn’t happen to my husband or anyone else. This is America,” she said. “I am very scared right now. I am so worried that my husband will never come back.”
She said her husband, who immigrated to the United States in 2018 from China, had recently lost his job as a dishwasher and was collecting cans to support his family before he was attacked.
“I am very scared and sad,” Chen told CBS New York. “My husband is a very hard-working and personable person.”
Jordan Freiman contributed reporting.