QUEENS, NY – Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Maricia Bell, 25, has been charged with assault as a hate crime and other charges for four different attacks on people of Asian descent in Flushing, Queens. The defendant allegedly punched or struck the victims with an object without provocation starting in May of this year and continuing through the 21st of this month.
District Attorney Katz said, “Racism is immoral and unacceptable – acting on one’s prejudice is a crime. This defendant must answer for allegedly attacking four different victims – all people of Asian descent – during sudden, violent outburst of rage here in Queens County. Now in custody, thanks to an anonymous tip, the defendant will face justice for her alleged actions.”
Bell, of Parsons Boulevard in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood of Queens, was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Morris on a complaint charging him with Robbery in the second and third degree as a hate crime, assault in the second and third degree as a hate crime, grand larceny in the fourth degree as a hate crime, petit larceny, as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. Judge Morris ordered the defendant to return to Court on August 16, 2021. If convicted, Bell faces up to 25 years in prison.
According to the charges, at approximately 8:55 a.m. on May 23, 2021, inside the parking lot of 71-43 Kissena Blvd., the defendant is observed on video surveillance approach the 24-year-old victim, punch him in the face, remove his glasses and then fled.
On June 16th, said the DA, the defendant was inside a bodega located at 70-63 Parsons Blvd. around 6:14 p.m. when she allegedly struck an Asian woman in the back of her head. On July 11th around 8 p.m., on the corner of Parsons Blvd. and 72nd Avenue, the defendant is accused of slapping a 63-year-old Asian woman in the face and removing the victims’ mask.
Just this last Wednesday, July 21st, according to the charges, the defendant was on 71st Avenue and Parsons Blvd., at approximately 7:30 a.m. when she allegedly attacked a 75-year-old woman. The victim was struck in the head with a hammer causing a laceration and bleeding.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Abigail Soto, of the New York City Police Department’s 107th Precinct and Detective Michael Rodriguez of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Brovner, Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Gerard Brave.
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