SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department's Bias Crimes Unit is looking to identify a man who attacked and spat on an Asian couple who were walking in downtown Seattle.
The couple was walking near 3rd Avenue and Stewart Street around 4:15 p.m. on May 16 when the suspect, caught on video, can be seen shoving a man in the face, slapping at his face mask and knocking off his glasses.
The suspect told the victims, “it’s all your fault.”
In the video, the man is seen lingering after the initial assault and appears to exchange words with the victim.
The couple walked into the West Precinct and made a report.
Officers called for a medical unit to check on the male victim, who had minor injuries to his hand during the incident.
SPD said they did not have resources available to provide an officer for comment to KING 5.
The assault on the couple is just one of dozens of incidents reported recently during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, a Seattle City Council committee passed new legislation to strengthen penalties against hate crimes.
The legislation is backed by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and Mayor Jenny Durkan, who wrote "we cannot afford to wait" on strengthening the laws.
The new legislation would enhance penalties for misdemeanor crimes, such as low-level assaults, theft, and harassment, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
The move comes as a study shows assaults with a hate crime element are up 524% in Seattle since 2012. Incidents with racial bias are up 427% in the same period. The City Auditor's Office said many of the crimes happen in high traffic and racially diverse neighborhoods.
SPD’s Bias Crimes Unit is investigating the case and is asking anyone who can identify the suspect to call 206-233-5000.