A 28-year-old suspect was arrested in a random assault on Asians in the Oakland district of California, Chinatown, including a cheeky street assault on a 91-year-old man, authorities said.
Nancy O’Malley, a district attorney in Alameda County, announced the arrest of Jahya Muslim at a news conference with Oakland’s newly appointed chief of police, LeRonne Armstrong.
The arrest came on Monday when two prominent Asian actors, Daniel Wu, and “Hawaii Five-O” star Daniel Dae Kim were rewarded with a $ 25,000 reward for locating a serial abuse suspect.
Street attacks in Oakland have resulted in an alarming number of violent attacks on Asian people across the country, which haters say stem from accusing Asians of the coronavirus.
“The racist rhetoric of the pandemic has targeted the cause of the coronavirus,” Wu said at Monday’s news conference. “And that’s why Asians have been targeted, repelled, attacked, spit across the border. Outside of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, these events are happening all over the country.”
The motive for the attacks in the Oakland Chinatown has not been made public.
One of the January 31 attacks hit a 91-year-old Asian man and was captured under video surveillance. The recording, which had become viral on social media, showed the man walking the sidewalk in the Chinatown on a clear day when a suspect who was allegedly Muslim O’Malley stepped behind him and pushed him to the ground while eyewitnesses watched in horror.
According to O’Malley, one of the Muslim attacks allegedly on January 1 hit the 91-year-old man and was recorded on surveillance video. A recording published by the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce on social media, which has since become viral, shows that the victim, whose name was not made public, walked the sidewalk of the Chinatown on a bright day as he stepped behind the suspected attacker. and pushed. to the ground.
The prosecutor claimed that on the same day, a Muslim similarly attacked two other people in the Chinatown, a 60-year-old woman and a 55-year-old woman.
“We have accused him of three attacks involving three separate victims,” O’Malley said.
A Muslim has also been charged with multiple elder abuse resulting from attacks in the Chinatown.
He is being held in Santa Rita Prison in Dublin, California on bail for $ 85,000 and will be brought to trial on Tuesday, according to records from online prisons. On Tuesday morning, it was unclear whether a Muslim lawyer was employed or appointed as a public defender.
“We recognize that some of our community come to Chinatown to target people. We know they’re targeting seniors. They come because they think our community isn’t reporting to the police,” Armstrong said, who was sworn in on Oakland’s new police on Monday. main. “We are pleased that we have already switched to new strategies to make the Chinatown a safer community.”
Armstrong added, “We are sending a message to those who commit crimes in this city that we will be persecuted and arrested, and it is not acceptable for such things to happen in our community.”
Carl Chan, president of the Chinatown of China, told ABC San Francisco station KGO-TV that he has collected more than 20 incident reports and videos in recent weeks about robbery of small businesses and abuse of owners and customers in the Chinatown.
In March, when the COVID-19 virus was just beginning to flood the globe, federal law enforcement officials warned of an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans as the coronavirus crisis continued to grow.
“The FBI is assessing hate crimes against Asian Americans that are likely to spread in the United States due to the spread of coronavirus disease… endangering Asian-American communities,” according to an intelligence report compiled by the FBI’s Houston office and sent to local law enforcement. . agencies nationwide. “The FBI bases this assessment on the assumption that a portion of the U.S. public associates COVID-19 with the Chinese and Asian-American populations.”
A document obtained by ABC News detailed the March 14 incident in Midland, Texas, in which “three Asian-American family members, including a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, were delayed … The suspect indicated that the family was delayed, because he thought the family was Chinese and infected people with the coronavirus. “
ABC News Josh Margolin contributed to the report.