Massachusetts

70-Year-Old Asian American Woman Describes Unprovoked Attack in Chinatown

The Boston Police Department says its Civil Rights Unit is investigating after a woman said she was punched in the eye by a stranger in Chinatown, telling her story during a virtual community meeting to address recent violence in the neighborhood

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A 70-year-old Asian American woman says she was punched in the eye by a stranger while walking in Boston's Chinatown neighborhood on April 2.

The woman said she never imagined she'd be assaulted in the middle of the day after shopping at a bakery on Harrison Avenue.

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The attack left a black eye not only on the victim, but on the community, as well.

"He just walked up and punched," said the woman, who asked not to be identified out of concern for her safety. "My initial reaction was, 'Run away from him as soon as possible,' because I don't want to have a second punch."

The victim described the suspect as a 5-foot-11, middle-aged white man. She claims the attack was unprovoked, leading her to believe it was an instance of hate against the Asian community.

The woman, who has frequented Chinatown for more than 40 years, shared her story Tuesday night during a virtual community meeting meant to address recent violence in the area. She believes it was important to file a report with police.

"If you never report it, then how do they know? They'll never know," she said.

The victim's daughter, who also asked to remain anonymous, said the Asian community tends not to speak up for several reasons, including language barriers, lending to crimes often going unreported.

"Once this had happened to my mother, I had other relatives come forward and share their stories of being insulted, and spit on and assaulted," the daughter said.

"If you don't report it, then you don't have the numbers to prove that it's happening. You can't track it, and if you don't have the numbers and the stats to prove that this is happening, then how are you going to justify the funds that you would need to dedicate resources to address this problem?" she asked.

Those resources could include additional police officers, better street lighting and more surveillance cameras. The cameras found at the place of the assault were either not working or did not get a good look at the suspect.

But even if he's found, the victim said she wouldn't want him to go to jail.

"If I see him, I will forgive him," she said. "I will pray for him."

Boston Police said detectives and the department's Civil Rights Unit are looking into the case. During Tuesday's virtual meeting, police said they will be dedicating more Chinese-speaking officers to the area after the recent string of violence.

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