The man accused of verbally and physically accosting an Asian woman outside a Flushing bakery in February was indicted by a Queens County grand jury Monday, May 10.
Patrick Mateo, 47, faces several charges, including hate crime and aggravated harassment. If convicted, he could spend the next year in jail.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement that the investigation has been ongoing since Feb. 16, the day of the attack, in order to establish that the attack was motivated by the victim’s Chinese heritage.
“In addition to the injury sustained by the victim, hate crime requires a need to show that the victim was targeted because of her ethnicity. Our investigation has concluded and now the defendant is charged with a hate crime,” Katz said May 10.
According to the charges, Mateo was in line at a Roosevelt Avenue bakery just past 2 p.m. when he began to argue with the 52-year-old victim. Without provocation, Mateo allegedly cursed at her and shoved her face. He then went inside the bakery, grabbed a cardboard box, ran back outside and threw the box at the victim before forcefully shoving her backwards, on to the ground and into a metal newsstand box on the sidewalk, officials said.
The victim was shoved so hard she needed nearly a dozen stitches to close an open gash on her forehead.
Officials apprehended Mateo less than two days later. A court-ordered search warrant was executed March 31 so that investigators could look at Mateo’s cellphone, where they allegedly found “anti-Asian sentiment.”
The Flushing attack gained national attention after actress Olivia Munn shared a video of the assault on Twitter. The Asian actress said the victim was a family friend, and stated that the 5-foot-3 Chinese woman was attacked completely unprovoked.
“[Thank you so much] to everyone here who helped find this guy and bring him to justice. My friend and his family also send their deepest gratitude,” Munn tweeted May 11, along with the hasthtag #StopAsianHate.
According to the Munn, detectives from the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force and 109th Precinct, who were investigating the incident, delivered egg tarts — which she had been in the bakery line to order, at the time of the attack — and mandarins — as good luck for the Lunar New Year— to the victim during their investigation.