NEW YORK — Two doormen at a New York City apartment who failed to intervene while an Asian woman was being attacked on the sidewalk were fired, the building’s management company said Tuesday.
Rick Mason, the executive director of management at the Brodsky Organization, which owns the apartment building in Manhattan, told residents in an email that the doormen did not follow “required emergency and safety protocols,” The New York Times reported.
“For this reason, their employment has been terminated, effective immediately,” Mason’s email said.
Mason did not identify the doormen by name, the newspaper reported.
Brandon Eliot, 38, was arrested on March 31, according to the newspaper. He was charged with three counts of assault as a hate crime.
Elliot, who in the video appeared to have kicked Kari in the torso and head, singled her out as Asian and told her, “You don’t belong here,” according to a criminal complaint.
Elliot is on lifetime parole after his 2019 release from prison after he was convicted of fatally stabbing his mother in 2002, according to multiple media outlets.
That six-minute surveillance video, showed both staff members standing by before responding, indicated they most likely did not witness the attack on Kari firsthand but were alerted to it by a delivery person who was in the lobby, the Times reported.
“The full lobby video shows that once the assailant had departed, the doormen emerged to assist the victim and flag down an NYPD vehicle, it is clear that required emergency and safety protocols were not followed,” the Brodsky Organization said in a statement. “We are extremely distraught and shocked by this incident, and our hearts go out to the victim.”
The doormen were suspended after the attack, pending the outcome of the investigation, CNN reported. Residents of the apartment building had defended the men in an open letter to the organization, saying surveillance footage “most certainly mischaracterizes” their actions. They added that they did not believe the staff members had “failed us as residents, our Midtown Manhattan community, nor our fellow AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) New Yorkers.”
The doormen’s union, SEIU 32BJ, said the workers are challenging their terminations under a grievance process outlined in their collective bargaining agreement, according to The Associated Press.
“We believe we must root out systemic racism in all its forms,” Kyle Bragg, the union’s president, said in a statement. “We believe that all union workers, especially workers of color who are often the subject of unfair treatment on the job, have a right to a fair process as outlined in their contract.”
Kari’s daughter, Elizabeth Kari, started a GoFundMe page, noting that Vilma Kari “has been resting these past few days and wants to send her best as your energy, prayers, and thoughts have reached her and our family.”
As of late Tuesday, more than $255,000 has been pledged.