Police say Rodriguez intentionally engaged with the undercover officer, told him to “go back to China” before he ended up in a “graveyard,” and threatened to slap and stab him in the face.
He is facing misdemeanor charges that include menacing and harassment as hate crimes, and aggravated harassment related to a person’s race, ancestry or certain other characteristics, court records show.
The arrest comes amid a national spike in reports of anti-Asian American hate crimes. The New York Police Department recently announced it was increasing patrols and adding undercover officers in areas with significant Asian American populations.
“The next person you target, whether it’s through speech, menacing activity or anything else, walking along a sidewalk or on a train platform, may be a plainclothes New York City police officer. So think twice,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at the time.