PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the coronavirus continues to spread regionally and around the globe, so are claims of harassment against the Asian community. Leaders of the Asian community say there have been racial slurs and intimidation surrounding COVID-19 and they fear the harassment may get worse.
A graphic video recently surfaced on social media showing multiple young people surrounding an Asian man on the 3100 block of Sheridan Street in West Kensington. They strike him in the head and he falls to the ground.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial: Renewed Calls For Justice Ring Throughout Philadelphia Streets Ahead Of Closing Arguments
“It’s just horrifying,” said Djung Tran, president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania.
Tran says she’s receive multiple complaints from Asian community members about being racially targeted because of the novel coronavirus.
“People seem to be identifying Chinese and Asian Americans indiscriminately as being somehow related to the virus, carriers of the virus,” Tran said. “So, there’s been physical attacks, there’s been harassment, there’s been a lot of name calling.”
Philadelphia police say the incident caught on video was never reported to them, but they launched an investigation on Friday after being alerted to the video on Instagram.
During a press conference on Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy condemned racial bias.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
“There is a special place in hell for the people who take advantage of this health crisis, whether you are price gouging or view this as an excuse to pursue racist behavior or bullying behavior,” Murphy said.
John Chin, a Chinese American who sits on the board of Mayor Jim Kenney’s Office of Economic Opportunity, says he is also being harassed.
“Passersby that walk by and said you should go die because of coronavirus,” Chin said.
He is currently working with the city’s Human Relations Commission and Office of Immigrant Affairs to find solutions.
“One is a blog for folks to engage in. Secondly, they’re going to be issuing a flyer to educate people about how to report bias incidents,” Chin said.MORE NEWS: Multi-Vehicle Crash In Upper Macungie Township Sends 10 People To Hospital
Leaders of the Asian community are planning a virtual town hall meeting about the racial bias on Thursday.