"Can internet sleuths help?" Apparent anti-Asian attack on NY subway by three black teen girls leads to no suspects in custody or even identified

MANHATTAN, NY – Police are investigating a possible hate crime after receiving reports of what appeared to be teenage girls repeatedly striking a woman of Asian descent on a subway on August 3rd. The suspects have yet to be identified.

An Asian couple boarded the southbound F Train subway with their twin 11-year-old daughters when teenagers on the same train allegedly began to make fun of them. The incident did not stop there as three teenage girls are seen on video captured by a witness physically attacking a 51-year-old mother while making “anti-ethnic” slurs, according to the New York Police Department.

The witness, a straphanger, Joanna Lin, watched the interaction and began recording the incident on her cell phone because she was concerned that it would escalate. Lin, also Asian, was also attacked while recording the incident.

In her video, Lin said, “I knew it was going to get bad so I took out my phone to document the incident. One of them [a suspect] saw me and tried to block the view (didn’t work).”

One of the girls, called “ferocious” by Lin, can be seen on the video walking quickly toward her before the video cut out. Lin alleged that after the video cut out, she was struck several times, presumably as punishment for recording the interaction.

When the video began again, the three teenage girls are seen standing in front of the Asian family while yelling. The Asian family can be seen seated before the most aggressive of the trio started to sit down before going after Lin a second time.

Lin said, “The ferocious one sees me and runs over to hit me again. I covered my head to defend myself and took another blow.”

The trio began to advance toward the Asian family, which sparked other bystanders on the subway to step up and attempt to defend the family from being physically attacked.

Lin wrote, “A brawl breaks out as bystanders try to prevent the family from getting hit. My journalistic instinct made me hit record again…the girl ran over and dragged me by the hair to the floor and hit me a few times on the head until I was able to roll away.”

When the subway stopped, Lin said she was able to meet up with the Asian family and share the videos she captured of the incident so they could report it to the police.

“What an awful and scary incident to endure," Lin said, "for the family and for everyone on the train. Really grateful for those who tried to intercede. Please be safe & share this video to spread awareness of #AsianHateCrimes!”

After making her initial post, Lin wrote another one in which she said her assumption that this attack was a hate crime was “premature.”

Instead, she wrote, “Even though racial slurs were used, I believe this is an incident of subway violence and bullying caused by delinquents – we need to teach our youth to not hate and to control their anger because it is toxic, triggering and infectious.”

The focus of the alleged attack, Sue Young, spoke to CBS New York about the incident, saying it started after the trio allegedly began laughing and making fun of the family. “It was just insult, after insult, after insult," Young said. "And, finally, my husband felt like he needed to step in and so he was like, ‘Can you use some better words besides those?’”

Instead of ceasing the bullying, the husband’s request enraged the trio, who then began threatening the mother and yelling at the family. Young continued, “She ran over, grabbed me by the hair, threw me on the ground, and started punching me several times. My glasses are broken. I’ve had a headache for a couple of days now because my hair was pulled and so my scalp was very tender. I got like a whiplashy neck.”

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries reported during the incident. For now, the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating and has not announced if any of the trio have been identified or apprehended.

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