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NYC Doormen Who Closed Door After 65-Year-Old Asian Woman Was Brutally Attacked on Sidewalk Have Been Fired


The lobby staff at a luxury Manhattan apartment complex who were captured on video last month closing the entrance door after an elderly Asian woman was being viciously attacked by a homeless man on the sidewalk just feet from the building’s entrance have been fired, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Rick Mason, the executive director of management for the company that owns the Midtown building, announced the terminations of both doormen who were on duty that day in an email to residents Tuesday morning. Mason wrote that because neither of the men followed “required emergency safety protocols” in aiding the woman or seeking assistance, “their employment has been terminated, effective immediately.”

Video of the attack on 65-year-old Vilma Kari, which took place last Monday, appeared to depict a horrific mix of unbridled violence from the assailant and apathy from the doormen who watched it unfold. It quickly went viral and led to the arrest of the suspected assailant, 38-year-old Brandon Elliot. Elliot, who allegedly yelled “You don’t belong here” as he assaulted Kari, is facing three counts of assault as a hate crime. As previously reported by Law&Crime, an NYPD spokesperson said Elliot had previously been in prison for stabbing his mother to death in 2002. He was released on lifetime parole in Nov. 2019.

The silent, grainy 25-second footage that was first released came from a camera inside the apartment building that was pointed at the glass entrance and street. Kari entered the frame walking in from the right and within seconds a man stormed into the frame from the left and delivered a kick that sent Kari flying backwards onto the ground. As the victim was down on the pavement, the suspect brutally stomped on her three times before walking away.

In the seconds after the assailant walked away, Kari—who was still on the ground—could be seen struggling to collect herself while the building’s staff appeared to stand by and watch. One of the doormen walked to the building’s entrance and gently closed the door.

The doormen’s reaction only added fuel to widespread online outrage over the video. The Times, however, obtained a longer video of the attack and its aftermath that suggested “they likely did not witness the attack on Ms. Kari firsthand but were alerted to it by a delivery person who was in the lobby.”

The longer clip reportedly showed that both of the doormen on duty exited the building to assist Kari approximately one-minute after the building door had been closed. The Times also reported that, in his email to residents, Mason pointed out that the doormen alerted authorities to the incident by flagging down a police car. The names of the doormen have not been released.

[image via NYPD screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.