In the name of #ProtectBlackWomen, Harlemites came out in full force over the weekend to march and advocate for a 31-year-old mom who was bitten, beaten, spit on and robbed on Jan. 18 after she refused a man’s offer to pay for her wine.
Community members gathered in front of the liquor store on Saturday, located at West 128th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue and marched for blocks calling for justice. Advocates included members of the victims family and the group Stand Against Violence East Harlem, ran by director Omar Jackson.
“If we don’t do it, who is? It’s our responsibility, it’s our duty to protect our women and children in our community,” Jackson told CBS New York.
The incident took place on Jan. 18 around 6 p.m. when the woman entered looking to purchase some wine after work. After she refused one of the men’s advances, she said one of the men grew angered and followed her outside where she was attacked. In the process, the men also stole her iPhone, worth around $750.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was like an animal. That’s the only way I can put it, it was like an animal,” the woman, who wishes to remain unidentified, told NBC New York.
“I just remember screaming to the top of my lungs, I just kept saying ‘He’s biting me! He’s biting me!” she said. “He bit through my eyebrow and then he continued to just, he kept opening his mouth to try to like re-grasp.”
“It was like they wanted to degrade me, by spitting on me and kicking me,” she said.
The woman was able to escape and sustained trauma to her eye, where she had to receive stitches.
“It’s just sad, you can’t even go about your day, minding your business … a polite decline could lead to something like this,” she said. “I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m a friend. This could be anyone’s mother, sister, daughter that are just in a store minding their business, purchasing their goods.”
Police are asking anyone with information leading to the arrest of the three men to come forward. According to the surveillance video, one man is wearing a red jacket with black rimmed glasses, a second is wearing a black jacket with a hooded sweatshirt and the third was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt with a denim vest.
Community advocates are offering a $2,500-$5,000 award for information leading to an arrest.