According to Philadelphia Inquirer, The SEPTA police, the Philadelphia police, the Philadelphia School Administration officials, the school district police and the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission were all involved in the investigation.
Videos of the incident, which has since gone viral, show four teenage girls shouting at three male students sitting on the train. The teenagers then approached a female spectator who intervened and told them to stop harassing the boys. At least one of the teenagers is seen in the video pushing the girl, who is standing, before she repeatedly hits her head against the train door.
After the girl falls, the teenagers can be seen kicking and hitting her on the ground for several moments. After the police were alerted to the attack, the victim was taken to hospital for treatment. No serious injuries were reported.
The victim was identified as an 18-year-old senior at Central High School named Christina. According to NBC News, she cycled home from school when the incident took place.
“She was a hero,” Nestel told a news conference. “She got up and told the girls to stop saying what they said. She then became a target. Just really heroic, brave.”
According to police officers, all four suspects, aged 12-16, were identified. Although their identities have not been released, each of the suspects was accused of aggravated assault, ethnic threat, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, disorderly conduct and ruthless danger to another person. At least one of the teenagers was also charged with robbery for attempted theft of a victim’s AirPod headphones.
During a press conference, Nestel told reporters that the mother of one of the teenagers identified her daughter from the online video circulated and reported her to the police. “A mother called when she saw her daughter as one of the people involved in the abuse and reported her daughter as one of the attackers,” says Nestel.
The mother talked to NBC News and condemned the attack in addition to apologizing to the victims. “We all apologize,” said the girl’s mother. “We are ashamed, ashamed. It is not who we represent.”
She noted that her daughter is 12 years old and had been missing for two weeks after escaping from home until she was detained after the incident. “I was extremely hurt and that’s why I needed to see you in public so you know my family is very sincere apologies for what happened to that child because we all pray that our children will come home safely from school,” she said.
Following the incident, a fundraiser in which the victim and her family raised more than half a million dollars less than 24 hours.
With the title “Support Christina in advocating for public safety“GoFundMe had raised almost $ 550,000 early Saturday afternoon. As of this report, the site has now raised more than $ 700,000 in efforts to stop Asian hatred.
“As her family, we will continue to campaign against Asian hate crimes in the school district of Philadelphia,” YLin Chen and Michael Chewrote of GoFundMe. “In addition, we actively advocate for the safety of school children when they travel by public transport.”
In addition to community support, local politicians and leaders acknowledged the incident and said they would work to eliminate such hate incidents.
“I am appalled by yesterday’s assault as involved students on the Broad Street Line. Those involved in the assault have been identified and will be held accountable. I want our residents to know that we will not tolerate any acts of hate,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim said Kenney.
The incident follows a consistent trend of violent attacks on Asian Americans since the pandemic began. According to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of organizations dedicated to tackling anti-Asian discrimination, has reported at least 10,370 incidents of anti-Asian bias from March 19, 2020 to September. 30. These data come along with others confirming an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Last month, data from the FBI showed that hate crimes actually increased by 76% in 2020.
The AAPI community needs our support now more than ever, whether it’s checking out our family and friends, spreading awareness of covid-19 misconceptions, or contacting congressmen to do more against anti-Asian hatred. Check out this resource guide and ways to support the AAPI community and our Asian friends. Hatred is the real virus, and we must put an end to it.