Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Who is Madeline Barker? Florida woman, 47, charged with hate crimes for pepper spraying Asian women

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Madeline Barker told Asian women: “Go back where you came from! Go back to your country!’

A Florida woman accused of pepper-spraying four people and making anti-Asian remarks in New York City earlier this month has been charged with hate crimes. Madeline Barker, 47, was brought to trial on Saturday, June 18 and formally charged with attempted assault as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime and harassment as a hate crime, court filings show. She was being held on Rikers Island on $20,000 bail after being charged.

On June 11, Barker Pepper sprayed four Asian women during a verbal altercation. She also made anti-Asian remarks at the intersection of 14th Street and Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. “Go back where you came from! Go back to your country!” Barker told the women.


Who is Madeline Barker?

Local activists and community leaders have said Baker should be made an example and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The activists said other steps should also be taken to ensure such incidents do not happen again.

“Any indictment against Madeline Barker is welcome, but I think more needs to be done,” said Brian Chin of the Alliance for Community Preservation and Betterment, the New York Post reported. “For people to feel safe again and for tourists to want to come back to our city, a strong and clear message needs to be sent. If you attack someone indiscriminately and maliciously because of the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, or because they speak a foreign language, the full extent of the law will come at you.”

Not much is known about who is Madeline Barker other than that she lives on Merritt Island in Florida. She is scheduled to appear back in court on Thursday, June 23. According to Barker, she only attacked the women after they began “harassing” them on June 11.

The five counties have seen multiple anti-Asian attacks since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. “These attackers must be held accountable for their dangerous behavior,” ACPB President Susan Lee, a former city council candidate, told the New York Post.

The city needs to do more to stop such incidents, according to Jacky Wong of the Greater Chinatown Civic Association. Wong said Barker’s arrest was “just the tip of the iceberg.” “Many anti-violence measures are under-recorded and under-reported because law enforcement and elected officials don’t take them seriously enough,” Wong said. “With the anti-Asian crime still trending in New York City, many Chinatown seniors [would] would rather go hungry than go shopping because they don’t want to be bothered.”

“Asian women take defense courses. Parents worry that their children will be attacked in playgrounds because of their race,” Wong added. “[Yet] We have seen no effective solution to the anti-Asian government violence.”

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