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Woman held in anti-Asian pepper-spray attack deserves full weight of the law, activists say

A woman hit with hate-crime charges for allegedly pepper-spraying four women during an anti-Asian tirade in Chelsea should be made an example of, local activists said Sunday.

Madeline Barker, 47 — who is being held at Rikers Island on $20,000 bail after being arraigned on assault and hate-crime charges late Saturday — needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for the latest Big Apple anti-Asian incident, civic leaders said.

But other steps should be taken, too, to try to ensure such hateful attacks don’t happen again, including having authorities treat each of these crimes more seriously, they said.

“Any and all charges against Madeline Barker are welcomed, but in my opinion more needs to be done,” said Brian Chin of the Alliance for Community Preservation and Betterment.

“In order for people to start feeling safe again and for tourists to want to come back to our city, a strong and clear message must be sent,” Lee said. “If you randomly and maliciously attack someone because of the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes or because they are seeking a foreign language, the full extent of the law will crack down upon you.”

Barker claimed that her caught-on-video incident in Chelsea came after the group of women started “harassing her” June 11.

Madeline Barker was charged with hate crimes for allegedly pepper spraying four women and going on an anti-Asian tirade in Chelsea on June 11, 2022.
William Miller

She allegedly yelled, “Go back to where you came from!” and, “Go back to your country!” before police said she started to squirt pepper spray at the women.

Barker, who lives on Merritt Island in Florida, is due back in court Thursday.

The five boroughs have been plagued by a series of anti-Asian attacks since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, including transit attacks.

“These attackers need to be held accountable for their dangerous behavior,” ACPB President Susan Lee, a former city council candidate, told The Post on Sunday.

Barker claims the women were originally harassing her before she sprayed them.
Barker claims the women were originally harassing her before she sprayed them.
DCPI

Jacky Wong of the Greater Chinatown Civic Association added that the city needs to do more to thwart such acts and protect victims, adding that Barker’s bust is “just the tip of an iceberg.

“Many anti-violence are under-recorded and under-reported because law enforcement and elected officials are not taking them seriously enough,” Wong said.

“With the anti-Asian crimes still trending in New York City, many Chinatown seniors [would] rather go hungry than go shopping because they don’t want to get harassed.

“Asian women are taking defensive classes. Parents worry about their children being targeted in playgrounds because of their race,” she said. “[Yet] we have not seen any effective solution to the anti-Asian violence from the government.”

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