Four Black girls charged in anti-Asian subway train attack in Philadelphia

Authorities say the Philadelphia subway attack on four local high school students was unprovoked and “based on ethnicity”.

Four Black teenaged girls in Philadelphia were charged Thursday in an attack on a group of Asian high school students riding a train.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office charged the suspects, whose ages range from 13 to 16, with aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Authorities say the attack caught on mobile device video shows the accused girls yelling ethnic slurs at three Asian teenaged boys who are also students at Central High School in Philadelphia, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. During the video, the attackers can be heard accusing the Asian boys of “jump[ing]” them and trying to “throw them off the train.”

“You wanna jump my people?! You gettin’ jumped too!” one girl says during the clip.

The attack comes less than a month after a disturbing story about a woman being raped on a Philadelphia commuter train.

An 18-year-old female Asian student, who reportedly is a senior at the Asian boys’ high school, can be seen trying to intervene in the verbal and physical assault on the boys, telling the group of girls attacking them to stop, police told WFSB-TV.

Shortly after her objection, the attackers redirected their attention to the Asian girl before shoving her head against a subway door, punching, stomping and beating her with a shoe after she collapsed on the floor of the train.

Credit: @Libs of TikTok
Credit: @Libs of TikTok

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority police chief Thomas Nestel told reporters the assault was unprovoked and “based on ethnicity.”

Nestel said the alleged victims told police “ethnic slurs were repeated and directed at them and mocking them for their heritage,” according to CNN.

“It’s clear they were picked on because they were Asian,” Nestel said at a news conference on Thursday, per Philly Voice.

The female victim’s aunt told WFSB-TV the attack on her niece was “cold-blooded” while translating during an interview with her niece’s mother.

“Her daughter supported Black Lives Matter,” the aunt continued. “I want to say Asian lives also matter”.

The teen girl’s family told attendees at a Chinese community center event on Friday that she is still receiving tests to establish the severity of her head injury, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The train attack incident is one of the latest in a surge of anti-Asian attacks and hate crimes committed by people of all races that began around the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Cal State University Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism report.

The report determined anti-Asian hate crimes in major US cities had increased 164% during the first quarter of 2021 when compared to the same period a year prior.

Complaints of anti-Asian hate in Philadelphia tripled between 2019 and 2020, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Central High School senior Carlie Zhang, 17, told reporters she is a friend of the 18-year-old female victim. Zhang said her school’s large Asian community has been shaken up by the attack following 18 months of virtual learning and Covid-19-related increased hostility directed at Asian Americans.

”A lot of us are really struggling, traumatized, Zhang said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We see our own friends, people who look like us, getting hurt, getting beat up.”

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