Seattle police are asking the public for help in identifying a man who attacked and spat on an Asian couple in downtown Seattle last weekend, blaming them for the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple was walking near Third Avenue and Stewart Street around 4:15 p.m. Saturday when the man walked past the couple, shoved the man and slapped him, knocking off the man’s glasses, according to a statement from the Seattle Police Department.
“It’s all your fault,” the assailant allegedly told the couple.
Surveillance video of the incident shows the suspect and the man exchanging words, before the suspect spits on him and flees.
The couple walked to Seattle police’s West Precinct to report the incident, and medics checked on the man, who suffered minor hand injuries during the incident, police said.
Asian Americans across the country have reported an increase in verbal abuse and physical attacks since the coronavirus epidemic began, including in the Seattle area.
Seattle police have assured the public they’re taking each incident seriously, but received criticism for not doing enough last week when an Asian-American man said he was the target of racist remarks at a Sodo Home Depot.
While there is no comprehensive data measuring anti-Asian bias during the pandemic, an analysis of self-reported incidents by Russell Jeung, chairman of the Asian-American Studies Department at San Francisco State University, shows a steady rise in reports of harassment and assault against Asians since mid-March, the Washington Post reported this week.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact the department’s bias-crime unit at 206-233-5000.