Chinese immigrant attacked in NYC dies months later

A Chinese immigrant who was brutally attacked in April in East Harlem, New York City, has died of his injuries, police said Saturday.

Yao Pan Ma was pushing a grocery cart full of bottles and cans that he had collected on April 23 when he was suddenly approached from behind and attacked.

The attacker knocked him to the ground and repeatedly kicked his head and stomped on him several times before fleeing the scene, prosecutors say.

Ma was then placed on a ventilator and remained hospitalized since the assault happened. He had severe head injuries and there was bleeding in his brain, according to officials.

The 61-year-old man died on Dec. 31, police said, adding his case is now deemed a homicide.

The attacker identified as Jarrod Powell, 49, was charged with attempted murder and two counts of assault as a hate crime at the time.

On Saturday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said that upgraded murder charges were expected to be filed.

Meanwhile, a family representative said the charges against Powell should now be enhanced.

“We’re calling on the District Attorney’s Office to upgrade the charges to murder now,” Karlin Chan, a community activist in New York City and a spokesman for Ma’s family, told The Associated Press. “We’re fighting for justice and I hope (Powell) never walks the streets as a free man. He needs to pay for what he did.”

The Legal Aid Society, which formerly represented Powell, said he is no longer a client.

Anti-Asian attacks have become frequent in the United States. The incidents began after former US President Donald Trump, who referred to the coronavirus pandemic as the “Chinese virus”, and others’ racist rhetoric and repeated rebuke of China and other Asian countries.

At least 9,081 incidents were reported between March 19 and June last year, according to a report from Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that became the authority on gathering data on racially motivated attacks related to the pandemic. A total of 4,548 occurred in 2019.

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