Ma, 61, was out collecting cans and bottles near the corner of Third Avenue and East 125th Street when Jarrod Powell, 49, shoved him from behind, according to police.
Video of the attack on April 23 showed the suspect repeatedly stomping on Ma’s head as he was lying motionless on the ground.
Ma’s wife spoke exclusively with CBS2 after the attack.
“I’m very scared right now. I’m so worried that my husband might never come back,” Baozhen Chen, 57, said through a translator. “This should not happen to my husband or anyone else. This is America. I wish the criminal can be arrested and put in jail for good.”
Powell was arrested days later and faced attempted murder and hate crime charges. While being led out of the precinct in handcuffs, a reporter asked Powell if he attacked the man.
“No. I was maced. I was attacked,” Powell said.
Police sources said there was no evidence of Powell being attacked or that he and the victim knew each other.