A plainclothes officer with the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested a woman outside of a nail salon Tuesday evening after she allegedly entered the business and began yelling hateful anti-Asian remarks at customers and staff.
CBS 2 New York reported that a woman named Sharon Williams was arrested in Chinatown after allegedly directing slurs and threats of violence at the salon’s staff before exiting the building and harassing another person on the street before the plainclothes officer intervened.
“You brought the corona to this country,” Williams said, among other invective, according to police.
Police told The Washington Post that the undercover officer was part of an effort launched by the NYPD to put plainclothes police on the street in areas where high levels of anti-Asian hate incidents are occurring in an effort to stop them as they happen.
The arrest comes amid a surge of anti-Asian hate incidents across America, with the rise attributed to rhetoric blaming Asian Americans for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prominent Asian Americans have linked the surge to remarks from former members of the Trump administration, who throughout 2020 and into this year referred to the coronavirus as the “China Virus” or other racially charged epithets.
“Despite what certain political leaders want to call it, I don’t consider the place where it’s from as important as the people who are sick and dying,” actor Daniel Dae Kim said last year.
Williams faces charges of harassment as a hate crime as well as aggravated harassment as a hate crime, according to the Post.