Woman Charged With Hate Crimes In 4 Anti-Asian Attacks

NEW YORK (AP) — A 25-year-old woman suspected in four separate attacks on people of Asian descent in Queens faces hate crime charges, prosecutors said Saturday.

The unprovoked attacks took place between May and July, they said. In the latest case, July 21, a 75-year-old woman was struck on the head with a hammer.

Maricia Bell of Queens was arraigned on a complaint charging her with assault, robbery and grand larceny, all as hate crimes, along with harassment and weapons possession, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. She said the charges followed an anonymous tip.

“Racism is immoral and unacceptable – acting on one’s prejudice is a crime. This defendant must answer for allegedly attacking four different victims – all people of Asian descent – during sudden, violent outburst(s) of rage here in Queens County," Katz said in a news release.

According to the complaint, Bell is accused of punching a man in the face and removing his glasses in a parking lot in May and striking a woman in the back of the head inside a bodega the following month.

She also is accused in a July 11 assault on a street corner during which a 63-year-old woman was slapped in the face and her mask removed.

The attorney who represents Bell could not be reached by phone to comment on her behalf Saturday.

Bell is due back in court Aug. 16.

If convicted, she faces up to 25 years in prison.