Doormen who stood by after brutal attack on Asian woman in New York are fired

The first video of the attack ends with the building staff members appearing to stand by passively.
The first video of the attack ends with the building staff members appearing to stand by passively. PHOTO: NYPD CRIME STOPPERS/AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - The lobby staff members who closed the door to a Manhattan apartment building last week without taking immediate action after a Filipino-American woman was brutally attacked on the street outside have been fired, the building's owners told residents in an e-mail on Tuesday (April 6).

Mr Rick Mason, the executive director of management at the Brodsky Organisation, which owns the luxury apartment building in Midtown, told residents of all of the organisation's buildings in an e-mail that two doormen who were inside the building at the time had not followed "required emergency and safety protocols".

"For this reason, their employment has been terminated, effective immediately," Mr Mason's e-mail said.

He did not identify the doormen.

The attack on the woman, Ms Vilma Kari, 65, last week, the video of which quickly went viral, was one of a wave of assaults over the past year that have caused mounting fear and anxiety among Asian Americans in New York and across the country.

The first video of the attack on Ms Kari is 25 seconds long and ends with the building staff members appearing to stand by passively while she lies on the ground injured, with one of them moving only to close the door.

That the workers' only visible response was to watch without helping added to the outrage that greeted the release of the video, which appears to show an episode of random, unprovoked violence punctuated by a callous, uncaring response.

The worker who closed the door was one of the two doormen who were fired, along with another doorman who is only momentarily visible in the video.

A longer video of the building staff members' response to the attack later obtained by The New York Times presents a fuller picture of what transpired.

That video, which lasts for more than six minutes and shows both staff members standing by before responding, indicated they likely did not witness the attack on Ms Kari firsthand but were alerted to it by a delivery person who was in the lobby.

The video also suggests that the attacker lingered near the front of the building after the assault.

About a minute after one of the staff members closes the door, both of them exit the building and appear to help Ms Kari. Mr Mason's e-mail to residents emphasised that they had also flagged down a police car.

Mr Mason's e-mail said that the Brodsky Organisation would retrain its building service staff on how to respond to emergencies, and would add training on "anti-bias awareness and upstander-bystander interventions". An upstander is someone who intervenes in a helpful way, interrupting what could otherwise be a harmful situation.

Brandon Elliot, 38, was arrested after the attack, and the Manhattan district attorney's office charged him with three counts of assault as a hate crime.

Elliot, who in the video appears to have kicked Ms Kari in the torso and head, singled her out as Asian and told her, "You don't belong here", according to the criminal complaint.


A woman walks past a police flyer advertising a reward for information about the assault on a Filipino woman in Manhattan on March 31, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES