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61-year-old Asian man head-stomped in brutal NYC attack dies 8 months later

Yao Pan Ma died of his injuries on New Year's Eve. His death has been ruled a homicide, investigators said.
Yao Pan Ma
Yao Pan Ma in the hospital after he was attacked while collecting cans in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City.Karlin Chan / AP

A 61-year-old Asian man who was brutally attacked last year has died of his injuries eight months after another man was recorded on video kicking his head repeatedly, New York City police said Saturday.

The attack, which initially critically injured the man, Yao Pan Ma, a Chinese immigrant, occurred April 23 when he was in East Harlem collecting cans to pay rent. At around 8:30 p.m., a man struck him from behind, “causing him to fall to the ground," police said.

Surveillance video released by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, which has also been investigating the incident, shows the man stomping Ma in the head while he is on the ground.

Ma was in a coma and spent months fighting for his life. He succumbed to his injuries Dec. 31.

The attack has been deemed a homicide, and authorities are still investigating, police said Saturday.

An Asian man, 61, was struck from behind, causing him to fall to the ground, at Third Avenue and East 125th Street in New York City on April 23.NYPD / via Twitter

Jarrod Powell, 50, was arrested April 27 in connection with the attack. He faces multiple felony charges of attempted murder and hate crimes. Powell pleaded not guilty at his arraignment June 22.

It's possible that Powell's charges will be upgraded after the homicide ruling. An attorney assigned to represent Powell at his next court hearing, scheduled for Feb. 10, did not immediately respond to a request for comment via email.

The attack occurred in a wave of racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans nationwide.

The spike in hate crimes was first seen in March and April 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, amid “negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic,” according to an analysis of official preliminary police data by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

While hate crimes decreased overall by 7 percent in 2020, crimes targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent across 16 of the country’s largest cities, the analysis found.

New York accounted for the largest surge, from three in 2019 to 28 in 2020.