Video footage released by police shows the suspect using his elbow to strike the victim in the face while the two were outside a storefront in the neighborhood of Koreatown on Monday. The “unprovoked” attack, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, resulted in the victim falling to the ground, appearing to be unconscious in the video.
After the assault, a bystander approached the suspect, confronted him and a dialogue ensued between the two, the video shows. Then, the suspect picked up the unconscious victim and handed him to the bystander. The attacker proceeded to walk away from the bystander and the victim and doesn’t appear to interact with them further. It is not clear from the video what happened further.
Los Angeles police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect and say they’re actively investigating the attack.
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations said it is contacting the LAPD to ensure that detectives are exploring any evidence of a potential hate crime, including witness or suspect interviews, social media posts and comments made by the suspect about the incident. Authorities have yet to state any determinations whether the assault constitutes a hate crime.
‘Anti-Asian violence continues on’
Advocacy organizations indicate the attack in Los Angeles points to a larger pattern of violence against Asian Americans — regardless of whether police determine the assault is a hate crime.
“Whether the police ultimately decides it has sufficient evidence to call this a hate crime or not, there’s no doubt that for our Asian American community, this is another example of the surge in violence and attacks against our community during this pandemic,” she said.
Through the program, staff can facilitate meetings with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to obtain civil remedies is a case has elements of bias and discrimination exhibited by agencies, companies or people.
“We don’t know the motivations behind this specific targeting of an Asian American, but we do know how real the problem of anti-AAPI hate is — not only in violent incidents like these but in the many more public harassment moments where racial and ethnic slurs are shouted at AAPIs just trying to go about their lives,” Kulkarni said.
CNN’s Christina Carrega and Priya Krishnakumar contributed to this report.