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Florida woman who was filmed pepper spraying four Asian women in in New York arrested

A woman filmed last week pepper spraying four Asian women during a racially motivated attack in Manhattan has been tracked down and arrested by police after a video of the incident went viral.

The suspect, 47-year-old Madeline Barker, was caught on camera during the June 10 altercation as he hurled racial slurs at the victims, such as “Go back to where you came from” and you don’t belong here.

The incident, which took place in a public square in the Meatpacking District, subsequently sparked a search for the then-unidentified woman – dubbed “Karen” by internet users.

Police are now revealing that the woman – who wore a bright pink pashmina and Jacqueline Onassis-esque sunglasses during her tirade – is in custody.

Barker, who is from Florida, now faces a hate crime charge for the attack, and was awaiting an appearance in Manhattan criminal court on Saturday on charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted sexual assault as a hate crime and harassment as a hate crime.

The incident, in which one victim “couldn’t open her eyes,” comes amid a wave of anti-Asian violence in City That Never Sleeps.

A Karen argued with four Asian women on Saturday when she pulled out pepper spray

The victims said the Karen claimed they harassed her and then sprayed them multiple times

The suspect, 47-year-old Madeline Barker, was caught on camera during the June 10 altercation as he hurled racial slurs at the victims, such as “Go back to where you came from” and you don’t belong here. The footage then went viral, prompting police to arrest Barker. arrested

Although the victims tried to run away, Barker, who is accused of hate crimes, chased the victims and sprayed the victims in the face, the footage shows.  One victim said she 'couldn't open' [her] eyes' after the attack

Although the victims tried to run away, Barker, who is accused of hate crimes, chased the victims and sprayed the victims in the face, the footage shows. One victim said she ‘couldn’t open’ [her] eyes’ after the attack

Police were on the hunt for the suspect and were investigating the case as a hate crime after the footage went viral last week

Police were on the hunt for the suspect and were investigating the case as a hate crime after the footage went viral last week

Shocking video recorded by the victims shows the moment when the woman, dubbed “Karen” by social media users, begins arguing with the four Queens women, all in their 20s, on Saturday in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

The victims, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ABC 7 that they were viewing a flower installation when the woman suddenly got into an argument with them, and after they accused them of harassing her, the Karen pepper sprayed the four.

“It hurt so much,” said one victim. “I couldn’t open my eyes for about 30 minutes.”

A bystander then filmed the victims running away from the altercation, but the Karen continues to yell at them and runs after one of the women, shooting her directly in the eye with the pepper spray before leaving the area.

It's the latest anti-Asian crime in New York City, which has seen a rise in hate crimes, rising 343 percent against Asians last year

It’s the latest anti-Asian crime in New York City, which has seen a rise in hate crimes, rising 343 percent against Asians last year

Police said the incident is currently under investigation and is being treated as a hate crime.

According to the victims, Barker engaged in a racist rant when she took the pepper spray on the Asian women.

†[She was] say, like, “Go back to where you came from, you don’t belong here,” one victim recalled ABC 7.

“She pointed to an Asian bystander who was a man, we didn’t know who he was, pointed to him and said, ‘Take your ***** back to your country.”‘

The victims claimed that after the attack, one of them received a message from someone else who allegedly encountered the same women earlier in the day, stating that the Karen had sprayed three others with pepper spray, including a 13-year-old girl.

“Learning that she did this to other people, including a minor, that’s not okay,” said one of the victims. “She needs to be caught.”

Another victim said that despite hearing racist comments while growing up, it was the first time any of them had been physically the victim of a hate crime.

Hate crimes are on the rise in the Big Apple and across the country, with the NYPD reporting that hate crimes rose 96 percent by 2021, with 133 Asian Americans experiencing terrifying and dangerous experiences of discrimination in the city.

The hate crime rate is currently up 31.1 percent from the same time last year. One of the latest attacks took place in April when a Chinese food delivery man was shot.

Zhiwen Yan, 45, (right) in this undated image on the day of his wedding, was making a delivery on his scooter in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens around 9:30 p.m. April 30, police say, when he was fatally shot in the chest

Zhiwen Yan, 45, (right) in this undated image on the day of his wedding, was making a delivery on his scooter in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens around 9:30 p.m. April 30, police say, when he was fatally shot in the chest

Supporters of Yan, who was reportedly killed by Glenn Hirsch, 51, staged a demonstration outside the Queens Supreme Court to protest the suspect's release without bail.

Supporters of Yan, who was reportedly killed by Glenn Hirsch, 51, staged a demonstration outside the Queens Supreme Court to protest the suspect’s release without bail.

Steven Zajonc, 28, was arrested in March and charged with assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and intimidation

Steven Zajonc, 28, was arrested in March and charged with assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and intimidation

This map shows the times and locations of the attacks that Zajonc allegedly committed on February 27 against seven Asian women

This map shows the times and locations of the attacks that Zajonc allegedly committed on February 27 against seven Asian women

The NYPD's own numbers show hate crimes skyrocketed during the pandemic

The NYPD’s own numbers show hate crimes skyrocketed during the pandemic

Zhiwen Yan, 45, was shot and killed in Queens during a ‘duck sauce’ argument in which police arrested Glenn Hirsch, 51, a man obsessed with the condiment.

Hirsch has pleaded not guilty and is currently being held without bail, much to the outrage of the Asian community when residents protested the decision, declaring the murder of the father of three a hate crime.

In March, police arrested Steven Zajonc, 28, of Florida, who had barricaded himself in the New York Public Library after allegedly assaulting seven Asian women during a two-hour frenzy through Manhattan.

At the start of the year, the city was shocked by the murder of Michelle Go, 40, who had been pushed to her death on the Times Square subway platform.

The increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans is attributed to the pandemic due to the origin of COVID-19 in China, while former President Donald Trump referred to the coronavirus as “kung flu” or “the China virus.”

The attacks come amid a continued rise in violent crime in the city as crime rates have plummeted 19.5 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year, with the NYPD reporting 10,929 cases on Wednesday.

Overall crime is up nearly 40 percent in the Big Apple, while assault is up nearly 20 percent

Overall crime is up nearly 40 percent in the Big Apple, while assault is up nearly 20 percent

Robberies have seen the most dramatic increase, with 7,187 cases so far this year — 40.3 percent more than the same time last year. The number of rapes has also risen by no less than 16.9 percent.

While homicides and shooting victims have fallen by 11.5 and 8.1 percent respectively, the city’s total crime rate has increased by 38.35 percent.

The number of transit crimes has also risen by no less than 53 percent.

Public transit has become so scary for residents, 85 percent are backing more transit officers in the stations — which Mayor Eric Adams, 61, promised to address, but failed to see through.

In addition, 63 percent support metal detectors in stations, according to the SCRI.

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