Teenager arrested over assault on Asian couple seen in viral video

After a disturbing video of an assault on an Asian couple went viral, police asked the public for help finding the attacker. Now, just a few days later, they’ve arrested a suspect.

Police in Tacoma, Washington announced on Friday that they have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection to the attack and charged him with second-degree assault. They did not disclose his name.

The unsettling video, which was filmed in November last year, shows a person in a red coat following and punching an Asian man and woman. Screaming and cursing can also be heard.

The victims had not known there was video of the attack, the Tacoma Police Department said. But after the department posted a still shot from it on 31 March and asked the public for information, a family member called in a tip. From that call, police were able to determine exactly where and when the assault took place, and found their way to the suspect.

The TPD says it is investigating the case as a hate crime.

“The Tacoma Police Department stands with our Asian American and Pacific Islander community and have no tolerance for hate crimes,” the department said in its 31 March post. “We encourage all those in the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community to report all crimes to help us fulfil our mission of creating a safe and secure environment.”

Anti-Asian hate crimes have risen dramatically since Covid-19 arrived in the United States. From 2019 to 2020, such crimes more than doubled in the country’s 16 largest cities, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

The increase came into the spotlight last month after six women of Asian origin were among eight people killed in a mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia.

One of the two victims in the Tacoma case, a 56-year-old Korean man, spoke anonymously to KIRO 7 about the ordeal.

“I just don’t understand why I was attacked,” he told the station. He and his wife were just going for a walk, he said, when they encountered four teenagers they’d never seen before.

“I thought they were messing around with each other and accidentally bumped into me. So, I asked, ‘You OK? You OK?’” he said.

That’s when the punches started.

“A fist came flying in, hit me right here, and I started bleeding,” he said. After that, the teens ran off.

The man says he forgives his attacker.

“I want him to be better,” he said. “I want him to know this was bad.”

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