Cops are investigating an alarming video of a man spraying Febreze at an Asian subway straphanger in an incident being investigated as a coronavirus-related hate crime, authorities said Thursday.
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The 35-second clip, first posted to Facebook, shows the man on an N train in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, yelling at the victim to “move” at around 9 a.m. Wednesday.
“Tell him to move,” he said — before a woman off camera asked why the man should move.
“Because he’s standing right f–king next to me! … Tell him to move. Tell him to move,” the man raged.
He later grabbed a bottle of Febreze air freshener, which he was carrying in a bag, and began spraying in the rider’s direction.
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A second video posted to Facebook, shows the Asian man confronting the sprayer, apparently after the incident.
“Why is that? Why can’t I sit next to you?” the victim yells, before a woman drags him away as the assailant repeatedly tells him “You better move – you’re being dumb right now. You’re being dumb.”
Police responded to a 911 call for the incident but the train had already left the station.
“The train was no longer there [at the station], so we were unable to take a report,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said at a crime briefing on Thursday. “We are investigating it right now. Our Hate Crimes Task Force is reviewing the incident and it’s an ongoing investigation.”
The MTA decried the incident as racist as it retweeted the video, offering advice on how to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“What works in stopping the spread of Coronavirus: 1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. 2. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. 3. Stay home if you’re sick. What doesn’t work: 1. Racism” the tweet said.
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Celia Au, a Chinese-American actress who tweeted the video, told the Post she decided to put it online it because it upset her.
“In times of crisis people should work together to beat it [the crisis]. Not discriminate,” she said.
As of Thursday afternoon, while there were 22 cases of coronavirus in New York State. None of the people infected were reported to be Asian.
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