What to Know
- Police arrested a man accused of attacking and yelling racist remarks at an Asian man in Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood Tuesday night.
- Police said they received multiple calls reporting a suspect attacking a 64-year-old Asian male while shouting anti-Asian remarks at him.
- James Foster, 29, is charged with ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment - subject other to physical contact.
The District Attorney's office announced charges against a man accused of attacking an Asian man in Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood Tuesday and yelling racist remarks at him.
James Foster, 29, is charged with ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment - subject other to physical contact.
Police said they received multiple calls Tuesday night reporting a suspect attacking a 64-year-old Asian male while shouting anti-Asian remarks at him on the 300 block of North 10th Street. Responding police officers used a Taser on the suspect, later identified as Foster, and then took him into custody. Police then transported him to Jefferson University Hospital for an evaluation.
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The victim was not hurt during the incident. Police continue to investigate.
Two days prior to that incident, on Easter Sunday, a man allegedly slapped an Asian-American woman near Reading Terminal before being quickly arrested. Police did not believe that attack was racially motivated however.
Last month, police investigated two acts of racist vandalism in South Philadelphia and Chinatown. Also last month, two Indonesian teenage girls reported they were attacked by a group of four other teen girls at the City Hall SEPTA station.
Over roughly the last year, despite hate crimes being down overall, anti-Asian attacks have become much more prevalent, with Pennsylvania and New Jersey among the states with the highest number of such attacks, according to data from groups that track these types of incidents.
From March of last year to Feb. 28 of this year, physical assaults, verbal harassment, civil rights violations and online harassment against Asian Americans were up across the board, according to a study by the Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate group.
Pennsylvania saw 97 such attacks, while New Jersey had 59. In addition, Philadelphia, specifically, was responsible for six anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, a 200% increase from the year prior, according to an analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that walking through the city’s Chinatown, she has noticed palpable fear among people, even before the Atlanta shootings.
“In personally going out and doing a walking tour, specifically in Chinatown, there was a lot of anxiety expressed around crimes against those who either are perceived, or are, of Asian descent because of the pandemic, and that there was maybe some fear of reporting said crimes,” Outlaw said.
Earlier this year, the department said it was temporarily bolstering police patrols around Asian communities and businesses in light of the Atlanta attack.