NEW YORK—Authorities have arrested 49-year-old ex-con Jarrod Powell for the brutal assault of Yao Pan Ma in East Harlem on Friday night.
The 49-year-old was charged with two counts of felony assault in connection with the attack, which left Ma in a medically induced coma. No hate-crime charges due to lack of evidence. The attack has cemented further views within the Asian community that “unity” with the African-American community is a fool’s errand and communal strength comes from within the community itself.
Yao Pan Ma, 61, was collecting cans Friday to help his family make ends meet along Third Avenue and East 125th Street around 8:30 p.m. when an African-American male assailant struck him from behind, causing him to fall to the ground, and then proceeded to repeatedly head stomp Ma.
The vicious attack was caught on surveillance camera. The NYPD stated EMS responded a short time later and rushed Ma to the local hospital.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is now investigating the attack. However, the department did not specify if Ma was targeted because of his race, according to NBC4 New York.
According to Ma’s wife, that’s why he was collecting bottles and cans on Friday night—to do whatever he could to help the couple’s finances.
“My husband is a hard-working man,” Chen said. “He picks up bottles to help pay the rent and the bills. He is innocent. He did not do anything wrong. He is a very kind person. He is quiet. He doesn’t cause trouble to make people mad.”
“When I saw him in the hospital … his face, I cried. I still cry,” said Chen, who called out her husband’s name during her Saturday morning visit, “asking if he could hear me.”
Although in a medically induced coma, Ma is showing “positive signs,” according to his GoFundMe page started by his family. The page was organized by fashion designer Phillip Lim and has raised $363,000 within a 24-hour period.
The Official GoFundMe page can be accessed by clicking HERE