The 35-year-old man, who filmed viral video showing an Asian man being attacked in a New York subway station, told The Post he believes the incident was vigilantism and not ethnic hatred.
The videographer, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was walking home from work around 3:30pm on Friday when he saw the Asian man being pinned from behind on the air conditioning platform at Fulton Street station.
“I said, ‘What are you doing? Why are you holding this guy?” the filmer recalled. And in response, he claimed the Asian man had just tried to molest a woman in a subway car, so he dragged him onto the platform.
The black man holding the alleged attacker then said, “Call the police,” according to the videographer.
When he called 911, the cops said they’d be right there, he recalled. But five minutes passed and the police didn’t come.
“The guy holding the Asian guy said, ‘Where are the cops? Where are the cops?” he said. “So I called the police a second time.”
The man who was being held tried to escape, he said.
“Although the video doesn’t show it, he was trying to get away the whole time,” the filmmaker said. “There were other people around. A girl says, “I’ll go upstairs and get her.” She came down again and said, ‘They’re coming.’”
But police officers didn’t show up until about 20 minutes after his first call. As new onlookers arrived, they were told the man had tried to attack a girl on the train.
The man who was being held reportedly said: “Yeah, so what? Do you have it on camera?” the videographer recalled.
Around that time, two other men suddenly attacked the alleged attacker, he said.
One of the men slaps the Asian man’s face, causing his body to go limp, as the video shows. Then a second man deals a series of blows to his head. Some in the group cheered and applauded the beating.
One of the men hitting the straphanger is heard saying he has a daughter before his hand touches the man’s face.
“I have a daughter,” he said. “If the cops lock me up, I’ll pay my bail myself.”
The video shooter said he and the man holding the alleged attacker tried to calm everyone down.
“You can hear the guy holding it saying, ‘Chill! Relax!’ and you hear me say, ‘Stop,'” he said.
An NYPD spokeswoman said the department was aware of the video and is investigating it, but had no information as to what happened. Police also said no sexual assault charges had been filed.
That Footage has been shared by the Asian Crime Report Twitter account on Sunday and then by the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force with a call for the victim to come forward.
It was not clear if police had spoken to the Asian on Monday. It also wasn’t clear if the incident was being investigated as a hate crime against an Asian New Yorker — an ongoing problem since the onset of the pandemic, which some politicians dubbed the “China virus.”
The videographer said the violence could have been avoided if police had arrived sooner. He called police at 3:31 and the video was timestamped 3:49 and another five minutes passed before they arrived, he said.
But he said the bottom line is that it has nothing to do with ethnic hatred.
He said the guys who hit the man were in response to a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a subway car.
“This thing is completely insane,” he said.
“The guy who was holding him never attacked him and he didn’t know those guys [who hit him.] The important thing about all of this is that none of this has anything to do with race.”
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