NEW YORK -- Police are investigating a suspected hate crime against an Asian man on the New York City subways that may be rooted in fears over the new coronavirus.
The NYPD released video from an N train in Brooklyn that shows a man arguing with a fellow passenger, who is Asian, on Wednesday.
"Tell him to move ... because he is standing right (expletive) next to me!" the alleged attacker yells in the video.
He then sprays Febreze air freshener at that passenger.
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Another video shows the victim confronting the man, asking "Why can't I sit next to you?"
He responds, "You're being dumb right now."
The incident is now being investigated as a possible hate crime.
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The disease, officially named COVID-19, can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian descent, including Chinese and Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other person.
"I want to emphasize, right now, to all New Yorkers, it is absolutely unacceptable to discriminate against Asian individuals and Asian communities in the midst of this crisis," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio added.
Coronavirus fear? Man sprays Febreze on Asian subway passenger in suspected hate crime