Police searching for suspect and motives in acid attack that left NYC woman blind

Police searching for suspect and motives in acid attack that left NYC woman blind

It seems that every day a new incident of hate makes headlines across the country. As Americans nationwide get vaccinated in record numbers, the aftermath of COVID-19 continues, including the rising number of crimes against Asian Americans across the country. Misinformation and misconceptions about the novel coronavirus have contributed to violence against the AAPI community, with more than 3,000 incidents of anti-Asian hate reported over the last year, according to Stop AAPI Hate

As investigations into these crimes continue, new incidents are reported daily. In a recent incident people are connecting to New York state’s rise in anti-Asian hate, a young woman was attacked with acid outside of her home. The woman, a 21-year-old South Asian identified by her first name Nafiah, was attacked by an unidentified man and suffered devastatingly serious injuries to her face, arms, and chest. Blinded as a result of the attack, Nafiah may never be able to regain her vision.

According to a GoFundMe made to fundraise for her medical expenses, Nafiah is a college student at Hofstra University. She was wearing contact lenses the night of the incident; the acid melted the contact lenses onto her eyes. Additionally, because she was screaming, the acid went into her mouth, causing her tongue and throat to burn. Her parents too suffered injuries as they attempted to help their daughter. “The attacker used a dark brown acid known to cause blindness and severe burning. Had the acid gotten into Nafiah’s lungs she would have died,” Shazia Anjum, her neighbor and the organizer of the campaign, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

Nafiah was randomly attacked outside of her home in Long Island, New York, on March 17, the Asian Feed reported. She and her mother were walking towards the home after exiting their car when an unidentified man came running towards Nafiah and threw acid in her face, according to surveillance footage. The man then took off in the opposite direction.

Police officials are still investigating and have asked for the public’s assistance in sharing any information they may have. According to Crime Stoppers and the Nassau County Police Department, the man in question fled the scene in a Red 2013-2015 Nissan Altima with fog lights. 

While police officials have yet to declare a motive for the attack, members of the community are connecting it to the rise in Asian American hate nationwide. According to AAPI Hate, of the 3,800 anti-hate incidents reported in the last year, 68% have targeted women.

While acid attacks are commonly connected to incidents of domestic violence, acid has been used in a number of hate crimes across the U.S. Last year a 61-year-old grandmother and phlebotomist was declared blind after she was randomly attacked by a stranger who also splashed acid in her face outside of her home. According to ABC News affiliate WPVI, the incident took place in Philadelphia moments before the woman planned to draw blood for patients at a nursing home. She too had no previous exchange or interaction with the assailant. 

In another incident, a Hispanic man was attacked and severely burned after someone threw acid on him while yelling, “Go back to your country.” The incident occurred in Milwaukee after Mahud Villalaz parked his car next to the perpetrators outside of a taqueria. Before attacking him, the man called Villalaz “illegal,” and said, “You came here to invade,” The New York Times reported.

As police look into the incident, Anjum shared that “Nafiah has stayed incredibly strong throughout.” She added that her “only wish is that the attacker is caught so that she can feel safe in her own home.” The GoFundMe contains pictures of Nafiah’s injuries; they’re very graphic. The fact that someone could easily buy acid to use it in such a way is troublesome. In order to ensure that something like this never happens again, better laws must be enabled to prevent people from having access to such chemical subtances. 

(WARNING: The video below contains violent video, photos, and language that may not be suitable for all readers.)

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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