A non-English speaking man was attacked on the streets of New York in what has the makings of a hate crime. The Mexican individual was walking down a street in the Bronx with his one-year-old son when a person came up to him and slashed his face with a blade.
Police confirmed on 7 February, that Ociel Herrera suffered two superficial cuts to the right side of his face, according to The New York Post.
"What he told me is stuck in my brain: 'F**k your country,'" the 41-year-old victim told the New York Daily News. "I saw hate in his eyes.
"It happened out of nowhere. I was walking home with my son. He was riding a scooter. I was just watching my son play," he said. "I just felt a strike on my face. I then realised he had cut the right side of my face. I noticed the blood. He had a blade. My son was in shock. He stood there paralysed."
In footage made available to WNBC, the father is seen chasing after the assailant, while holding his son's scooter over his head. The boy, meanwhile, stands alone watching the scene.
"I couldn't do anything more, so I ran back to grab my son," Herrera said. "I was worried someone could kidnap my son.
"Frankly, I'm scared. We're looking for psychological help for my son. At night he can't sleep, he wakes up all the time, crying. This scared him," he said of the trauma the attack has caused them.
A police source revealed that the attack has not been registered as a hate crime, but Herrera himself has concerns that the assailant was targeting immigrants.
"I'm worried that these types of attacks against immigrants are happening more and more," he said. "I'm still afraid, because police haven't caught him yet. I'm nervous. Sometimes his grandma takes my son for a walk. What if (the attacker) recognises him?"
Authorities are urging people who may have information regarding the crime and the attacker to come forward and report the same. Going by the surveillance footage, police have described the man as being black, about 18 years old, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.
On 5 February, another Mexican immigrant was attacked in a similar manner. 35-year-old restaurant worker Tomas Jaimez suffered cuts to his chest, right arm and right leg while in the Lower East Side by an unidentified individual.
"He told me, 'F**king Mexican, if you call the police I will kill you,' "Jaimez told the Daily News. "He attacked me because of my race."