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Yonkers mayor, community leaders denounce brutal attack on elderly Filipina

Don Tagala | TFC News Yonkers, New York

Posted at Mar 16 2022 01:55 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2022 05:56 PM

Still image from surveillance video released by the Yonkers Police Department.
Still image from the surveillance video released by the Yonkers Police Department.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, and local community leaders including Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato, gathered at the city hall on Tuesday to denounce the recent vicious attack on an elderly Filipina.

Yonkers Police Department had released a surveillance video, showing the 67-year-old Filipina brutally assaulted by her neighbor in Yonkers, New York last Friday. Investigators say that before entering her apartment building's doorway, the 42-year-old attacker, identified as Tammel Esco, hurled a racial slur at her. But she ignored him, and that was when Esco followed her into the building. After a punch that knocked her to the ground, the perpetrator continuously punched the victim for another minute and ten seconds. He struck the woman 125 times, and even stomped on her seven times, before spitting on her.

"You just have to look at this tape and you're beyond anger," Spano said. "Any normal person is gonna cry when they see this tape because you see the anger, the venom. It was punches. It was kicks, it was spitting on this defenseless poor woman."

Lisa Hofflich of the Westchester Asian Democrats also expressed her outrage over the incident.

"I cried for the woman. And I cried for our Asian American community. A community that is outraged and hurting. Many of us are fearful of going out... We need to have our voices heard." Hofflich stressed.

Cato said this is not the first attack on members of the Filipino community this past week.

"The incident is actually the third in two days involving a member of the Filipino community. Last Thursday, two members of our community were seriously injured after they were pushed while they were in the subway by unidentified individuals. For the past year, we recorded about 26 cases involving members of our community," Cato noted.

The latest victim, who requested to remain anonymous, was transferred to a hospital and was treated for bleeding in the brain, multiple facial fractures, bruising and lacerations to the head and face.

"Kausap ko yung anak kanina. Ang sabi sa atin, yung mother niya stable, and they were hoping she would be discharged from the hospital," Cato said.

(I spoke to her child earlier. We were told that the mother is stable, and they were hoping she would be discharged from the hospital.)

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks racism and discrimination against the AAPI community, 10,905 hate incidents against AAPIs were reported from March 2020 to December 2021.

Community leaders believe that there is so much more that needs to be done to ensure the safety of Asian Americans on top of increasing police enforcement.

"There's the other track of prevention, right? Making sure that people who are more likely to commit these crimes, who are mentally ill, who need help, get the help that they need, and we need to ensure that government provides that help," David Imamura, co-chair of the Westchester County Asian American Advisory Board pointed out.

Esco has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree as a hate crime and assault in the second degree as a hate crime, both violent felonies. He is currently being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in Yonkers criminal court on March 25.

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