/  06.21.2022

Fourty-seven-year-old Madeline Barker is sitting in a cell on Rikers Island after she was arrested late Saturday (June 18). She is accused of attacking multiple Asian-Americans in Chelsea, New York. On June 10, Barker was seen on video pepper spraying four women while on an anti-Asian tirade. Her bail has been set at $20,000 after she was arraigned on assault and hate crime charges.

Sources say Barker claimed the Asian women were harassing her. The 47-year-old reportedly yelled “Go back to where you came from!” and “Go back to your country!” before pepper spraying the victims.

Following the incident, Jacky Wong of the Greater Chinatown Civic Association spoke with The New York Post and said, “With the anti-Asian crimes still trending in New York City, many Chinatown seniors [would] rather go hungry than go shopping because they don’t want to get harassed. Asian women are taking defensive classes. Parents worry about their children being targeted in playgrounds because of their race,” she said. “[Yet] we have not seen any effective solution to the anti-Asian violence from the government.”

The outlet also spoke with Brian Chin of the Alliance for Community Preservation and Betterment. He shared that “any and all charges against Madeline Barker are welcomed” and “more needs to be done.” Chin spoke about what needs to happen to make the community feel safe. “In order for people to start feeling safe again and for tourists to want to come back to our city, a strong and clear message must be sent,” he said. “If you randomly and maliciously attack someone because of the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes or because they are speaking a foreign language, the full extent of the law will crack down upon you.”

Barker, who is a resident of Merritt Island in Florida, is due back in court Thursday (June 23).

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