FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Brooklyn Man Arraigned on Indictment Charging Him With
Assault and Menacing as Hate Crimes Related to
Three Anti-Asian Hate Incidents
Defendant Allegedly Targeted His Victims Because of Their Race
in Three Attacks Over the Course of a Month
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man was arraigned on a 19-count indictment in which he is charged with assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment in connection with three separate incidents in which he allegedly violently assaulted two Asian women and an elderly Asian man.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Without warning or provocation, this defendant allegedly attacked three innocent strangers because of their race. We have no patience for hate or intolerance in Brooklyn and everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or religion, should feel safe to walk the streets without fear of being senselessly and violently attacked. We will continue to work with our partners in the community to address this disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and bring the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes to justice.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Joseph Russo, 29, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today on a 19-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, and related charges before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The defendant was ordered held on bail of $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond and to return to court on July 13, 2021.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant allegedly assaulted and/or menaced three Asian individuals in the following incidents:
- On Friday, March 5, 2021, at approximately 9:20 a.m., at the corner of Kings Highway and West 6th Street, the defendant allegedly walked directly in front of a 64-year-old woman and pushed her to the ground, causing the victim to fall and suffer pain to the body.
- On Monday, March 22, 2021, at approximately 7:40 a.m., on Kings Highway near East 13th Street, the defendant allegedly approached a 32-year-old woman as she walked towards the train station and pulled her hair, violently dragging her to the ground and causing pain to the victim’s back.
- On Monday, April 5, 2021, at approximately 11:15 a.m., the defendant allegedly approached a 77-year-old man standing outside J & RNY Supermarket at 1406 Avenue U and pushed him from behind, causing the victim to fall to the ground and suffer bruising and pain to his hand.
Surveillance video captured the defendant during all three of the alleged attacks. A detective with the New York Police Department’s 62nd Detective Squad was able to identify the defendant from the surveillance video.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Daniel Zhang of the Hate Crimes Task Force. Paralegal Michael Chung of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office assisted with the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Samantha Perlstein, of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Ari Farkas, Deputy Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau, and overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kelli Muse, Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau.
An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt