Despite having confessed to targeting and attacking an Asian-American man because of his race, New York City police will not be charging two African-American teenagers with a “hate crime” for the man’s murder.
17-year-old Chris Levy of Harlem, and 16-year-old Cory Azor of Queens, will be tried as adults and are being charged with second-degree murder of 49-year-old David Kao.
The two, out on the hunt for an Asian, caught Kao sleeping in the passenger-side seat of his SUV. After climbing into the car, Levy and Azor put Kao into a choke hold and dragged him into the backseat, where they beat him until he was unconscious. The two then took his credit cards and dumped him out a few blocks away.
A security video of the robbery led cops to the two suspects, who had been using Kao’s vehicle to joy ride around Harlem for two days. Azor, the step-son of an NYPD officer, quickly confessed to the crime and implicated his cohort. Levy then confessed that he put Kao “in a headlock and pulled him over the seat into the backseat. I continued to hold him in the headlock and punch him in the face, and then he stopped moving.”
Kao’s body was later found Saturday behind a medical office in Flushing, near Barclay Avenue and 147th Street.
Levy and Azor had targeted another Asian man a week before, strangling and beating him before robbing him of money and personal belongings.
Kao, who lived in Elmhurst, was a marketing executive at World Journal, the largest Chinese-language daily newspaper in America. His 21-year-old daughter attends college in Taiwan.
Oddly enough, co-workers of Kao were more concerned with the cold brutality of their friend’s muder and not thinking of it as a “hate crime.” “I think what made us uncomfortable was how brutal these people are,” said Richard Li, his supervisor at the Journal. “I think that bothered us even more. We don’t really think about if it as a racial thing or a hate crime thing.”
A third person was also arrested in connection with the case, but is not being tried as and adult.