The Seattle Police Department is investigating what they call an "Anti-Asian Bias incident" after an Asian couple was harassed and attacked by a man about the coronavirus pandemic. In an altercation that was captured on video, a white male believed to be in his 30s is seen violently pushing the couple as they walked down the street, retreating only to return several seconds later.
According to authorities, the incident took place on May 23 at Golden Gardens Park as the couple in the video were walking to their vehicle at around 6:45 p.m. The man, who has not been identified, "ran up to them in an aggressive manner" and was yelling. He reportedly spit in the victim's face and struck his cheek, yelling, "Where are you from?" The couple, who told authorities they believed they were targeted because of their race, were able to make it to their vehicle and call the police.
The Seattle Police Department says that the same man is believed to be linked to two other incidents that took place at Golden Gardens Park that same day. Just minutes prior to the attack on the couple, police had responded to the area for a report of a man yelling at Asian park guests and chasing a female driver as she was trying to leave. According to the victim, the man approached her vehicle as she was stopped for traffic, knocked on the window and asked, "Where are you from…where is your ID?" He began taking photos of her vehicle and said, "Chinese disease…they bring it here!"
Later that evening, officers were dispatched to a restaurant, where employees said that hours earlier, a man matching the description of the man involved in the two other incidents "yelled racially biased remarks based on Asian heritage." According to one person who spoke to the police, the man entered the restaurant at around 5:30 p.m. and knocked on the windows before kicking over a stand located inside of the store. He reportedly threatened to throw a table at the victim and then picked up a wooden doorstop and threw it. The man had reportedly come in the previous day as well.
In all three incidents, the victims said that they believed they were targeted because of their race. The man is described as a white male in his 30s who is approximately 5'10" tall, has a muscular build, and has dark hair. Anyone who may have additional information is asked to call the SPD tip line at 206-233-5000.
The incidents in Seattle over the weekend mark just the latest in a string of crimes targeting Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic and follow concerning rhetoric regarding the virus, including the usage of the term "Chinese virus." The World Health Organization (WHO), as well as many officials, have advised "people to refrain from attaching "locations or ethnicity to the disease," as such terms "can perpetuate negative stereotypes or assumptions, strengthen false associations between [COVID-19] & other factors, create widespread fear, or dehumanize those who have the disease."