New York man charged with multiple hate crime charges in attacks on 7 Asian women

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Steven Zajonc, 28, is charged with six counts of third-degree assault as a hate crime and seven counts of second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor hate crime.

CNN was unable to identify an attorney for Zajonc and contacted the Legal Aid Society to find out if its attorneys represent him.

On February 27, Zajonc allegedly launched a series of unprovoked attacks on women on the east side of Manhattan, according to the district attorney’s office.

“These attacks on seven New York women, each fueled by anti-Asian hatred, are another sobering reminder of the demonstrable fears that AAPI communities, particularly AAPI women, in our city continue to face,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in the statement.

“As alleged, in just three hours, Steven Zajonc selectively ambushed seven Asian women in separate assaults, some of which he struck from behind – for no reason other than their perceived race. This indictment is the result of our collaboration with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, and above all, the help of the brave witnesses and victims who have come forward to stand up against hate.”

Prosecutors say six victims were injured, including bleeding cuts and bruises to their faces, and one victim was knocked unconscious and treated for a concussion.

The victims were between the ages of 19 and 57, according to police information shortly after the attacks. At least two were treated at a hospital, police said.

No statement was made before the attacks and there was no prior interaction between the victims and the attacker, police said.

Hate crimes against Asians have increased so much during the Covid-19 pandemic that the New York Police Department has created an Asia Hate Crimes Task Force.

The NYPD recorded 158 incidents of hate crimes against Asians between March 8, 2020 and December 29, 2021. One victim, a 61-year-old woman, died of her injuries four months after she was attacked by a man with a rock.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says it has 27 open cases related to anti-Asian crimes.

CNN’s Theresa Waldrop, Kiely Westhoff and Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report.

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