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Witness to assault of Filipino in NYC shares story

Don Tagala | TFC News New York

Posted at Jul 20 2022 09:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 20 2022 03:32 PM

Witness recounts moment Filipino was assaulted in New York City
Jerbem Balajadia recounts the moment an 18-year-old Filipino was assaulted in New York City.

Jerbem Balajadia was giving his guests a tour of New York City last Wednesday.

He and his guests, a family of four visiting from Manila, were just leaving a popular fast-food chain when the unthinkable happened at the corner of 46th Street and Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

"Paglabas na paglabas namin dito sa Chick-Fil-A, wala pang four steps, bigla na lang tumumba sa likod namin yung bata, tapos nakita namin na pinagsusuntok na," Balajadia recalled.

(As soon as we got out of Chick-Fil-A, we took less than four steps when we saw the teen fall on his back. And then we saw him being punched.)

NYC area where an 18-year-old Filipino was assaulted on July 13.

An unknown man, described as a heavyset African American, violently assaulted an unnamed 18-year-old Filipino tourist without provocation and with no apparent reason. The attack happened around 9:30pm on July 13.
 
"Biglang bumagsak yung bata sa likod namin, kasi nasa harap kami, sumisigaw yung attacker ng 'F--- Asian' habang sinusuntok niya yung bata pababa, so ang ginawa namin lumaban kami."

(The boy fell behind us because we were in the front. The attacker was screaming expletives against Asians while he kept punching the boy. So we fought back.)

Balajadia said a chase ensued until he and the father of the victim, who also wished to stay anonymous, finally subdued the attacker. This all happened within just a stone’s throw away from the Philippine Consulate General on Fifth Avenue and 46th.
 
"Dito namin siya inabot kasama yung mga pulis. Dito na siya pinosasan. Dumating yung mga pulis, ang dami, full force, then yung EMS binigyan kami ng medical attention, yung bata," Balajadia shared.

(This was where we ended up, along with the police. This was where he was handcuffed. The police came in full force, along with the EMS. They gave us, and especially the boy, medical attention.)

The 18 –year-old victim sustained injuries: a blow on the back of his head and a swollen jaw. But he is out of danger, according to Balajadia.

"Minomonitor pa namin yung bata, at talagang may pamamaga sa kanyang likuran, so far ok naman."

(We're monitoring the boy and there's really bruising on his back.)

A police officer told Balajadia that it is rare for bystanders to fight back and subdue an attacker.

"For the past, ilang cases na, ang nangyayari lang nakakawala ang attacker, so hindi talaga namin tinigilan, hanggang sa ma-subdue namin siya," the witness noted.

(In past cases, what happens is that the attacker gets away. But we never stopped until we subdued him.)

According to Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato, this has been the 41st incident that involved a Filipino national who was either a victim of a hate crime, hate incident or a criminal act under their jurisdiction since the pandemic. Cato sent out an advisory to the Filipino community to remain vigilant as these attacks that involve Filipino nationals as victims continue to happen.
 
Meanwhile, Balajadia said he noticed something different this time as other bystanders came to help them.

"Nawitness ko ang tulong ng mga tao eh, kahit saan pwede mangyari yan, just so happen na ang tao lumalaban na at tumutulong kasama pa ng quick response ng NYPD... That night na witness ko, diverse, iba't ibang lahi, sila pa mismo tumulong sa amin."

(I witnessed people's help. The crime could have happened anywhere. But it just so happened that this time, people fought back and helped. Added to that is the quick response from the NYPD... That night I witnessed people from different ethnicities help.)

Although the attacker is in police custody, it's still uncertain what happens next as the family and the victim have not pressed charges or complaints against the unnamed assailant. But in an email to ABS-CBN News, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information and the New York Police Department said the NYPD will consult with the Manhattan District Attorney's office and that the Manhattan DA will have the final say if charges will be filed against the attacker.