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Asian-American lawyers question why suspect charged in vicious attack last week in Yonkers was even on the streets

YONKERS, NY — Anger, fear and frustration were evident on Tuesday after a vicious alleged anti-Asian hate crime that was filmed.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, one wonders why the suspect wasn’t in jail after pushing a woman through a window last year.

Video of Friday’s attack is so disturbing that CBS2 doesn’t show the worst of it. Tammel Esco, 42, unprovoked, is seen hitting his neighbor, a 67-year-old woman from the Philippines.

He allegedly threw 125 punches and unleashed seven vicious kicks, in addition to spitting and hurling anti-Asian slurs.

“This is wickedness and depravity. We are all here to express our outrage and sorrow at this senseless act of violence,” said Lisa Hofflich of Westchester Asian-American Democrats.

Defenders and supporters of Yonkers City Hall have taken a stand against rising crime targeting Asian Americans, noting a common thread with many suspects being arrested.

“A lot of people who commit these assaults are mentally ill, right? So we have to make sure that these people are well cared for and that they are not on the streets, going out and hurting people,” said said Westchester’s David Imamura. County Asian-American Advisory Council.

Sources told Aiello that Esco has both mental health and substance abuse issues. He spent 42 months in prison after stabbing a woman in 2010.

In February 2021, he was charged with assault for pushing a woman through a bay window.

Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah’s office did not agree to any jail time after Esco completed five months of inpatient treatment.

In a statement, the office said it would not offer such a deal on Tuesday, saying, “Current guidelines presume incarceration for [people] with prior violent crime convictions.”

After Friday’s attack, residents said they feared the system failed to protect them.

“Obviously he was untreated, or maybe he was incurable,” said Diane Lane, the victim’s neighbor.

Good news was announced at the town hall rally. The consul general of the Philippines said the 67-year-old victim was doing better and could soon be discharged from hospital.

The suspect is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. He is being held without bail.


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