Minnesota police have arrested three teenagers in connection to an attack on an Asian American woman who was seen on video being taunted and kicked in the face at a railway station.
As NBC News reported, the incident took place at a station in Saint Paul and gained national attention when video of the attack went viral on social media. The video showed teenagers taunting the woman, who was alone at the time, before one of them kicked her in the face. The attackers then fled the railway station. The condition of the victim was not known.
The report said that police were able to use the video as well as surveillance footage from railway stations to determine exactly where the attack took place. They identified the suspects as two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old, who were taken into custody this week.
“Our cameras on our platforms are high quality. We were able to get some good video, some good images, and able to quickly identify our suspects,” said Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla, via MPR News.
Padilla added that investigators are still trying to track down the woman seen attacked in the video.
“We’re still working on identifying the victim. That’s one of the final pieces we want is to be able to talk to this victim,” Padilla said.
The cases have been sent to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, which will determine charges. Police said it was not clear yet if the attack was racially motivated, but it comes amid a spike in attacks on Asian Americans during the coronavirus crisis, including others in Minnesota. MPR News reported that there had been a series of incidents reported in the area, and noted that a Health Department hotline set up to answer questions about the coronavirus has received a number of calls complaining about Asian Americans.
Bo Thao-Urabe, executive and network director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders, said she saw some of this discrimination firsthand.
“Somebody else saw them and said something like, ‘Take your virus and go back home,'” Thao-Urabe told MPR News. “Things like that are making people feel like there is a lot of assumptions about who are carriers. And Asian Americans, regardless of whether you’ve traveled, seem to have become the target.”
Police have not released the names of the three teenagers arrested in connection to the attack on the Asian American woman, and it is not yet clear exactly what charges they could face.