Chinese immigrant attacked in New York dies months later

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NEW YORK (AP) — A Chinese immigrant who was brutally attacked in April while picking up cans in East Harlem has died of his injuries, and his case is now a homicide, New York police said Saturday. .

Yao Pan Ma, 61, died on December 31, police said. The attack drew national attention amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York and across the country. Jarrod Powell, 49, of New York, has previously been charged with attempted murder, felony assault and a hate crime in the case, which is still under investigation.

A family representative said the charges against Powell should now be strengthened. “We call on the district attorney’s office to turn the charges into murder now,” Karlin Chan, a community activist in New York and a spokesperson for Ma’s family, told The Associated Press. “We are fighting for justice and I hope (Powell) never walks the streets a free man. He has to pay for what he did.

The Legal Aid Society, which previously represented Powell, said he was no longer a client. A message was left seeking comment from another attorney listed in court records as Powell’s attorney.

Powell attacked Ma from behind, knocking him to the ground and kicking him in the head repeatedly before fleeing the scene, prosecutors say. Surveillance video released by police appears to show an assailant stomping on Ma’s head.

Chan said Ma never regained consciousness after the attack and his condition continued to deteriorate over time. Ma was moved in and out of multiple facilities over the past eight months, eventually dying in a long-term care facility run by The New Jewish Home, Chan said.

A funeral is scheduled for next week. A police detective said in a criminal complaint that Powell admitted to attacking an Asian man at the approximate time and place of the attack on Ma, saying he did it because the man attacked him. had flown the day before. Chan, however, said the men had never met before.

Ma and his wife – who Chan says are “devastated” by what happened to her husband – immigrated to the United States in October 2018 from China, where Ma was a dim sum chef. After arriving in the United States, Ma got work as a general kitchen worker at a Chinese restaurant, making pastries and performing other kitchen duties. However, when the pandemic hit, Ma lost her job when the restaurant closed during the lockdown. He hadn’t worked long enough to qualify for unemployment benefits, Chan said.

This prompted Ma and his wife, who also lost her job as a home care worker, to collect returnable bottles and cans to generate extra cash for food, Chan said. “They were recent immigrants,” he said. “They really had no savings.”

The couple have two adult children, a son and a daughter, who still live in China. Before the pandemic, Chan said the couple lost their Chinatown apartment in December 2019 to a fire and had to move in with relatives.

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