An Asian woman was punched in the face in New York City on Tuesday in what is being investigated as a possible bias incident, with the governor of New York saying it was apparently motivated by bigotry surrounding the coronavirus.
Officers responded to a reported assault at a building on West 34th Street about 10:30 a.m., the New York Police Department told NBC News.
Upon arrival, a 23-year-old woman told officers she was punched in the face by a woman who also made anti-Asian slurs before fleeing the scene, police said. She was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
The two women knew each other, attend the same school and have had previous altercations.
The incident is being investigated as a possible bias incident, according to police. No arrests have been made.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation.
"I am disgusted to hear that a woman of Asian descent was physically assaulted in Manhattan on Tuesday — an attack apparently motivated by the bigoted notion that an Asian person is more likely to carry or transmit the novel coronavirus," Cuomo said in a statement.
The governor said "there is zero evidence that people of Asian descent bear any additional responsibility for the transmission of the coronavirus."
"No one in this state should ever feel intimidated or threatened because of who they are or how they look," Cuomo said. "Diversity is our greatest strength — it's one of the things that makes New York great — and in difficult times we need to band together even tighter."