A 75-year-old Asian-American man was left braindead after an assault on Tuesday in Oakland, the latest shocking incident as community leaders across the country worry of a wave of attacks targeting Asians in the US.
Oakland police made an arrest later that day, and neither the identity of the victim or the suspect has been released.
"When I heard about this…it’s just so hurtful. I know people are saying that they’re angry. I’m not angry. I’m so sad," Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce president Carl Chan told KPIX.
Local leaders condemned the attack, the latest in a string of incidents involving Asian-Americans, often elderly, being attacked in cities like Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
"I am saddened to hear of yet another violent attack on the elders of our community," Oakland Police Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong saint on . "The trauma this causes has a ripple effect, on the victim, their family, and the entire community. My officers are dedicated to bringing those involved in this senseless crime and all crimes to justice."
According to the Alameda County District Attorney, there were 18 crimes against Asian-Americans in the city’s Chinatown in a two-week span in February, and the Oakland PD has deployed extra patrols in the area.
Police ask that anyone with information on the incident call the Oakland Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at (510) 238-3821.
Around the country, Asian-American leaders say their communities are facing an increase in hate crimes, as coronavirus fuels xenophobia against Asian people. Former president Trump frequently branded the pandemic the “China virus” and “Kung Flu.”
In New York, hate crimes against Asians jumped from 3 recorded in 2019 to 28 in 2020, with multiple hate crimes occurring already in 2021.
Many of the incidents are horrifically violent, such as last April, when a man doused a 39-year-old woman with a caustic chemical in Brooklyn, badly burning her. Later, in July, two men lit an 89-year-old woman on fire near her Brooklyn home, inspiring protests.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks violence against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islands there have been more than 3,000 self-reported hate incidents since the beginning of the coronavirus.
The attacks around the country, such as an 84-year-old Thai man being shoved to the ground in the Bay Area, and a Los Angeles man being beaten with his own cane at a bus stop, have inspired protests, neighbourhood patrols, and a $25,000 reward for information on one incident from actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu.
Still, some have cautioned that the exact cause of these incidents isn’t confirmed, much of the data is self-reported or otherwise incomplete, and that what’s going on might not fit neatly into normal conceptions of white hate crimes against non-white people.
For others, the incidents have evoked the memory of the Rodney King riots, where long-simmering tensions between Los Angeles’ Korean-American and Black community played a role in the violence that took place.