Then, when a spectator intervened, she called the political Asian American man “a Chinese mother f —–”, but he was not just another pedestrian: he was an undercover NYPD officer.
After the officer called for backup, the NYPD arrested the woman, who was identified by authorities as 50-year-old Sharon Williams. She was charged with harassment as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, police told The Washington Post.
Williams could not be reached for comment; it is unclear if she has a lawyer.
The incident, first reported by WLNY, is the latest in a rise in attacks on Asian Americans across the country and comes weeks after shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area killed eight, including six Asian women. New York has also seen a sharp increase with at least 35 anti-Asian hate crime reports already this year, the New York Times reported in contrast to the full 28 last year.
Last month, authorities charged a 26-year-old homeless man with a hate crime for alleged punching an Asian man. Last week, a 38-year-old man who allegedly attacked a 65-year-old Asian American woman, pushed her down and trampled on her, received three charges of hate crimes.
To tackle the increase, the NYPD set up an 18-man Asian task force task force last year. Two weeks ago, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced that the department would increase its reach to Asian communities and deploy regular Asian American officers in Chinatown and other areas of the city with larger Asian American populations.
“The next person you target, whether through speech, threatening activity or anything else, walking along a sidewalk or a train platform, may be a New York City police officer. So think twice, ”Shea told a news conference on March 25.
The undercover officer outside the Good Choice for Nails Salon on Tuesday was part of that effort, police said.
The incident on Tuesday began around noon. 17, police said as Williams entered the salon and threatened physical violence against an Asian American woman before walking outside and continuing his verbal assault.
After she allegedly shouted a slap at the regular cloth officer, the officer called for a backup team nearby who helped arrest Williams and transported her to central reservation.
It is unclear when Williams will next appear in court.