A woman was arrested and charged with hate crimes after being accused of making anti-Asian remarks while pepper-spraying four people in New York City last week.

Madeline Barker, 47, from Merritt Island, Florida, is charged with two counts of assault as a hate crime, two counts of attempted assault as a hate crime and four counts of harassment as a hate crime, police said Friday.

Before the arrest, the New York Police Department asked the public for help searching for the suspect and released video of a woman speaking to and using pepper spray on the victims. The video does not contain audio from the incident.

PREVIOUS REPORTS:Woman made anti-Asian remarks as she pepper sprayed 4 people in New York, police say

Police said the suspect approached four Asian women on June 11 before knocking a cellphone out of one of their hands and pepper-spraying them. The woman also made anti-Asian and xenophobic comments during the attack, the NYPD said.

NYPD’s hate crimes task force is investigating the incident.Information on an attorney for Barker was not immediately available.

The attack comes amid a surge in hate incidents against Asian Americans nationwide. Stop AAPI Hate reported a 15% increase in such incidents in 2021 compared to 2020. There were nearly 11,000 anti-Asian incidents from March 2020 to December 2021, most of which targeted Asian women, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

ASIAN WOMEN FACE ‘TERRIFYING ATTACKS’:What advocates say needs to change

Contributing: Jordan D. Brown, USA TODAY

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

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