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Man charged with hate crimes in string of attacks on Asian women in Manhattan

A 28-year-old homeless man has been charged with hate crimes after a series of unprovoked attacks against women of Asian descent. 

Steven Zajonc was arrested on seven counts each of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and harassment on Wednesday in connection with assaults of seven women during a roughly two-hour span on Sunday, the New York Police Department confirmed to The Hill.

Most of the women involved in the assaults were punched or struck in the face and one was pushed to the ground. The victims were all Asian and between ages 19 and 57, police said.

Zajonc’s arrest came after two guards at a library in Midtown Manhattan recognized him from surveillance videos of the crime scenes, according to The Associated Press.

His arrest comes after a troubling uptick in violence against Asian American communities across the country. 

In New York City, anti-Asian hate crimes spiked by 361 percent between 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco police department reported that the number of people who reported being the victim of a hate crime against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the last year was up by 567 percent.

President Biden in May signed an anti-Asian hate crime bill into law with bipartisan support. 

“My message to all of those of you who are hurting is we see you and the Congress has said, we see you. And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias,” Biden said at the time.

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