Fresh Meadows woman arraigned on slew of anti-Asian hate crime charges: DA

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A Fresh Meadows woman was charged with assault as a hate crime and other charges Saturday, and ordered held without bail, for four separate attacks on people of Asian descent in Flushing over the last three months, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Maricia Bell, 25, of Parsons Boulevard, was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Gia Morris in Kew Gardens on a complaint charging her with assault in the second and third degree, robbery in the second and third degree as a hate crime, and other charges stemming from attacks starting in May and continuing through July 21.

According to the charges, on May 23 just before 9 a.m. inside a parking lot at 71-42 Kissena Blvd., Bell was observed on video surveillance approaching a 24-year-old victim and punching him in the face before fleeing.

On June 16, Katz said the defendant was inside a bodega at 70-63 Parsons Blvd., just after 6 p.m. when she allegedly struck an Asian woman in the back of her head.

On July 11 around 8 p.m., on the corner of Parsons Boulevard and 72nd Avenue, Bell is accused of slapping a 63-year-old Asian woman in the face and removing her mask.

Bell struck again on July 21 at 71st Avenue and Parsons Boulevard at around 7:30 a.m. when she allegedly attacked a 75-year-old woman, according to the charges. The victim was struck in the head with a hammer, causing a laceration and bleeding.

“Racism is immoral and unacceptable. Acting on one’s prejudice is a crime,” Katz said. “This defendant must answer for allegedly attacking four different victims, all people of Asian descent, during sudden, violent outbursts of rage here in Queens County. Now in custody, thanks to an anonymous tips, the defendant will face justice for her alleged actions.”

Judge Morris ordered the defendant to return to court on Aug. 16. If convicted, Bell faces up to 25 years in prison.

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