MELBOURNE, Fla. - A Florida woman who officials say was caught on camera pepper-spraying Asian women in New York City while making racist comments has been indicted on hate crime charges.
Madeline Barker, 47, of Melbourne, is charged with eight counts of Assault in the Third Degree as a Hate Crime and four counts of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, a misdemeanor hate crime.
"Hearing the hateful and discriminatory words, ‘go back to your country’ is deeply painful and these women allegedly heard them before enduring the physical pain of Ms. Barker’s pepper spray. People of all backgrounds deserve to feel safe," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Office said in a press release on Thursday.
According to the New York Police Department (NYPD), on June 11, witnesses said Barker pepper-sprayed four females during a verbal fight and made anti-Asian statements at the intersection of 14th Street and Ninth Avenue in Chelsea.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said Barker allegedly confronted the group for standing near where she was sitting and hurled racially offensive remarks at them. All four victims experienced "a burning sensation to their faces or eyes as well as substantial pain" after being pepper-sprayed, the attorney's office said.
Police identified Barker as the woman in the video wearing an orange dress and pink scarf with sunglasses.
A study released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernadino found that anti-Asian hate crimes went up a whopping 149% between 2019 and 2020.