Update (2/2/21): The woman who was harassed and then beaten by a group of men after stopping at a liquor store in Harlem, New York, in January, finally spoke out following the arrest of one of the attackers.
A Black woman using the Instagram handle taylor_mariee_, sent her gratitude to the hundreds of people that shared her story and helped police locate one of her assailants, according to NewsOne.
“Words cannot express my extreme gratitude for everyone who assisted in helping apprehend this individual. Whether it was reposting, sharing etc…doing your own investigations. I am extremely grateful!” she wrote.
She revealed it took her some time to come forward with her identity because she wanted to improve her mental health beforehand.
The woman initially requested to remain anonymous following the attack on Jan. 18, as Blavity previously reported. She said she was making a stop at a liquor store to get a bottle of wine when a group of men offered to buy her the wine, but she turned down their offer.
After she made her purchase and exited the store, the men became hostile and ganged up on her outside of the store, badly beating her and stealing her phone.
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," she said. "I just remember screaming to the top of my lungs, I just kept saying 'He's biting me! He's biting me!'
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said the man detained was a suspect named Tyrone Cooper. Cooper was apprehended in Brooklyn, New York, after officers responded to a domestic violence call that was not associated with the Jan. 18 attack, according to a statement Harrison posted on Twitter.
Harrison pledged that his department will collaborate with community members to locate the remaining assailants and directed anyone with any further information to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline.
Police have since released surveillance video of Cooper and two other individuals, NewsOne reported.
On Monday, the woman wrote on Instagram that her attack is an example of the danger women face trying to live their lives peacefully.
“Ladies never let anyone, especially a coward of a man or a group of them dim your shine or steal your glow no matter what happens,” she wrote.
Original (1/26/21): Hundreds of Harlem residents protested on behalf of a woman who was attacked by a group of men who accosted her while she tried to buy a bottle of wine after work on Jan. 18.
According to interviews with local NBC and ABC affiliates, the woman, who asked not to be identified, was walking home from work around 6 p.m. and stopped in a liquor store to get a bottle of wine on 128th St. and St. Nicholas Avenue.
She said the men offered to buy her the wine she wanted but she declined, paid for her wine and walked out of the store. The men became enraged and attacked her outside of the store, stealing her phone and gruesomely beating her.
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," she said. "I just remember screaming to the top of my lungs, I just kept saying 'He's biting me! He's biting me!' He bit through my eyebrow and then he continued to just, he kept opening his mouth to try to like re-grasp."
The horrifying story caused outrage when ABC7 interviewed the woman and showed the grievous injuries she suffered after the men punched, bit, kicked and spit on her simply because she did not respond to their attempts to talk to her. The incident has become another example of the kind of endless harassment women face on a daily basis just by being outside.
"I was mauled, this is more than being bitten. I was mauled – that he didn't just bite me and like that was it. This was a recurring action that he did on my face as if he was trying to literally take my eye. That's what it felt like," she told ABC7.
"I will never forget that look in his eyes and it's just being that close to me in my face, and just trying to do that like it's feeling him biting on me and just his breath on me and just the scent of his clothes. He really just needs to be caught, all of them, because I didn't deserve this, I was minding my business."
She had to get stitches for her eye and had bruises across her face during the interview.
"My thoughts aren't the normal thoughts anymore. It was like they wanted to degrade me, by spitting on me and kicking me. 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."
After the segment aired, people across New York City were outraged that this could happen to a woman, all because she refused to respond to a group of men accosting her. The fact that no one came to help the woman further enraged many who said this never should have been allowed to happen.
"What took place here is atrocious. To assault a sister like this is an insult and a direct attack on every woman in our city," local activist Tony Herbert told NBC4. He and others have put up a cash reward for information about the men, and police are still searching for the perpetrators.
On Saturday, hundreds of people came out to the liquor store to protest and search for the three men responsible for the attack.
— Taqee Bond (@TaqeeBond) January 23, 2021
The protesters also marched through Harlem calling for justice and for more to be done to protect Black women.
"A clarion call was made when a woman in Harlem was savagely attacked by three despicable punk hoodlums who haven’t been caught. Last night brothers & sisters came out to say NO MORE," said Rachel Noerdlinger, who served as chief of staff to New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray until 2014.
"If we don't do it, who is? It's our responsibility, our duty to protect women and children in our community," Omar Jackson, director of Stand Against Violence in East Harlem told CBS2.