A Chinese-American who was brutally assaulted in April has died of his injuries.
Yao Pan Ma, 61, died on December 31. Almost eight months after he was approached from behind and beaten while picking up cans in East Harlem, New York.
Ma was fundraising at the time, having apparently lost her job amid the Covid pandemic. His injuries left him in a coma and sparked national anger.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said on Saturday that murder charges could be filed against 49-year-old Jarrod Powell following Ma’s death, according to The New York Times.
He is still under investigation by the NYPD and has previously been charged with attempted murder and two counts of assault as a hate crime.
Mr Powell was also seen in widely released video footage appearing to stomp on Ma’s head during the April 2021 attack, and reportedly told police he attacked an Asian man because he was robbed. the day before.
Karlin Chan, a community activist in New York City and spokesperson for Ma’s family, said the two have never met and that “we call on the district attorney’s office to turn the charges into murder now” .
He said The Associated Press: “We are fighting for justice and I hope that (Powell) will never walk the streets as a free man. He has to pay for what he did.
Mr Chain said Ma had been transferred to several facilities over the past eight months and died in a long-term care center run by The New Jewish Home.
A funeral is scheduled for next week and Mr Powell is expected to appear in court on February 10.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.