crime and punishment

Jarrod Powell attacks Yao Pan Ma in East Harlem, Upper Manhattan, New York City; NYPD arrests ex-con

Jarrod Powell (©NYPD)
Jarrod Powell (©NYPD)

Jarrod Powell, 49, has been arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was charged with attempted murder and a hate crime.

Powell is a homeless ex-convict. Wearing a multi-colored baseball cap, a black jacket, black pants and white sneakers, he was caught on camera on April 24, 2021 kicking Asian man Yao Pan Ma, 61, in the head at least six times while the latter was collecting cans to make money for his family at Third Avenue and East 125th Street in East Harlem, Upper Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States.

On April 26, 2021, NYPD officers arrested Powell. When he walked out of the department’s 25th Precinct station house in handcuffs, he was asked if he attacked Ma.

“No,” CBS New York quoted Powell as saying. “I was maced. I was attacked.”

The NYPD found no evidence that Powell was attacked.


Ma immigrated from China to New York in 2019. He and his wife Baozhen Chen, 57, live in an apartment in East Harlem.

Because of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ma lost his job in a restaurant where he washed dishes and helped the cook. He and Chen have two children who are both married and living in China.

Chen is a home attendant taking care of elderly patients. She was at work when she received the news about her wife being attacked in East Harlem.

“I was scared,” Chen told the New York Post in Mandarin, which was translated to English by a translator. “I was crying. I didn’t know what to do.”

“Why?” Chen continued. “Why did they do this to my husband? Why did this happen? It was sudden. I didn’t expect this.”


Also known as El Barrio or Spanish Harlem, East Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Hispanic communities in New York City. Many of the residents of the neighborhood are from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

East Harlem is served by two NYPD precincts. The area north of 116th Street is served by the 25th Precinct at 120 East 119th Street while the area south of 116th Street is served by the 23rd Precinct at 164 East 102nd Street.

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