A New York police department called out YouTube on Monday for removing a video that showed a violent attack on an Asian American woman, and suggested that the company improperly censored them in doing so.
Yonkers Police Department tweeted a screenshot of a message with YouTube letterhead on Monday related to surveillance footage of the March 11th hate crime attack involving an alleged career criminal. The video was later taken down, and was replaced with the message: "This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service."
The contents of the message indicate Yonkers Police appealed the video’s removal, but was denied.
"We reviewed your content carefully, and have confirmed that it violates our violent or graphic content policy," the message from YouTube states. "We know this is probably disappointing news, but it’s our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all."
Yonkers Police Department responded with a tweet, writing: "Dear YouTube, Safety isn't derived from censoring content and information; it's the product of a free society that adheres to the rule of law."
The attack in question involved a 67-year-old Asian American victim. The woman was walking into her Yonkers apartment building around 6 p.m. March 11 when she passed the stranger, who called her "Asian b----," police said.
The woman ignored him and kept walking, cops said. She entered the building’s vestibule pushing a cart full of items and was in the process of opening the door into the lobby when the suspect also entered.
The chilling video from inside the vestibule showed the man calmly approach her from behind and swing his right hand, punching the woman in the head and sending her crumbling to the ground.
He proceeded to punch her repeatedly and without pause – alternating between his left and right hands – as the victim lied on the tile, the video showed. He punched his victim in her head and face continuously over the course of a minute.
He then foot-stomped the woman seven times and spat on her, according to police and the video.
The suspect then left the vestibule, but remained in front of the building, police said. Several people called 911 and the attacker – 42-year-old Tammel Esco – was arrested. Esco, who reportedly has lengthy criminal history including at least one prior conviction, was charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and second-degree assault as a hate crime.
The victim was hospitalized with broken bones in her face and bleeding in the brain, as well as several cuts and bruises to her head, according to authorities.