ALBANY, N.Y. — Albany police arrested a 47-year-old Schenectady resident for assaulting a member of the U.S. Armed Forces while inside of a local department store on Thursday.
Officers responded to Wal-Mart, located at 141 Washington Avenue Extension, for a report of fight. Upon arrival, the victim, a 43-year-old United States Army Captain, stated he was assaulted by another man near the store's register.
“It started with the middle finger and the officer asked if it was for him or something of that nature and it escalated from there,” said Officer Steve Smith with the Albany Police Department.
The victim, who was wearing his Army uniform, told officers that a man standing directly behind him in line began to yell derogatory statements towards him about the United States of America and his service to the country. The suspect then struck him several times in the face.
The victim sustained bruising to his face and a laceration over his eye. He was treated at the scene by Albany Fire Department personnel.
“It looks like he displayed a great deal of restraint which is consistent with the armed forces, law enforcement and public service. We are held at a higher standard and you have to commend him for being able to have that restraint,” said Smith.
The suspect, 47-year-old Yiqiang Wu, of Schenectady, was arrested at the scene and charged Assault 3rd-degree as a Hate Crime. He was arraigned this morning in the Albany City Criminal Court.
Police say Wu is charged with a hate crime because of the nature of what he was yelling at the captain.
“The law states that if you are talking about the country per say or using derogatory statements towards the United States,” he said.
When police arrived at the Wal-Mart soon after the alleged assault, they say Wu was cooperative and sent to the hospital for a mental evaluation. They say they believe he suffers from mental illness.
“We thought it was important to get this out obviously because of the uniformed aspect. He is a person that serves our country and it not only happens to police but to public servants every day,” said Smith.