People attend a rally against racism and violence on Asian Americans in Flushing of New York, the United States, March 27, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Two New York City doormen who did not come to the aid of a 65-year-old Asian American while she was repeatedly kicked and stomped outside the apartment building where they worked have been fired, the building’s owner said.

The Brodsky Organization announced the dismissals on Tuesday after a video of the March 29 attack surfaced. It shows the woman struggling to fend off her attacker while one of the doormen closes the front entrance to the luxury building in Midtown Manhattan.

The video of the attack went viral across the US. That the staff members’ only visible response was to watch added to the outrage that greeted the video’s release.

The men were initially suspended in the aftermath of the assault, one of scores of attacks in New York City and nationally in recent weeks against Asian Americans. An internal investigation resulted in the doormen’s firing.

Brandon Elliot, 38, who was out on supervised parole after serving time for killing his mother more than a decade ago, was charged with attacking Vilma Kari, 65, originally from the Philippines, in front of 360 West 43rd Street as she walked to a nearby church, police said.

Surveillance video shows Elliot kicking her to the sidewalk and stomping on her head multiple times before fleeing. Police said Elliot also allegedly screamed,”You don’t belong here” during the assault.

Police arrested Elliot, who is black, at a nearby hotel for the homeless where he was staying, authorities said. He has been charged with two counts of second-degree assault as a hate crime and one count of first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, the New York City Police Department said. Elliot was released from prison in 2019 after serving a sentence for killing his mother in 2002. He was on lifetime parole.

The Brodsky Organization initially said a doorman had moved to close the door because it appeared Elliot had a knife.


Failure to report assault

About a minute after the door was closed, both of the men left the building and appeared to help Kari. The Brodsky Organization said in an e-mail the doormen had flagged down a police car, but they did not call 911 to report the assault as it was happening, police said.

The company said on Tuesday it had completed its inquiry into how the doormen responded and decided to fire them.

“It is clear that required emergency and safety protocols were not followed,” the company said.”For this reason, their employment has been terminated, effective immediately.”

It did not identify the employees by name, and a spokeswoman did not specify the protocols that staff members had not followed.

However, the doormen received widespread support from the building’s residents. In an open letter to the Brodsky Organization, the residents said the surveillance footage “mischaracterizes” their actions.

The residents added they did not believe the staff members had “failed us as residents, our Midtown Manhattan community, nor our fellow AAPI New Yorkers”.