NYPD creates Asian Hate Crime Task Force in wake of COVID-19 incidents
The NYPD has created a first-ever Asian Hate Crimes Task Force in the wake of a string of incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic that targeted Asians, officials announced Tuesday.
“During the coronavirus pandemic starting in March, New York City experienced 21 anti-Asian hate crimes,” Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said at One Police Plaza.
“This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers — either verbal attack or physical assault. We saw a spike in every borough throughout the city.”
Police made 17 arrests as a result of the nearly two dozen anti-Asian hate crimes — all COVID-19-related — since since March 21, Harrison said. It was unclear how many of the arrests lead to prosecutions.
“Asian New Yorkers were attacked on trains, buses, restaurants and walking in their own neighborhoods,” Harrison said, as he stood next to some of the 25 detectives on the team. “And even through our Hate Crimes Task Force was doing a good job investigating those incidents we did notice there was a reluctance with several of our complainants to follow up with the active investigation.”
Deputy Inspector Hsiao “Stewart” Loo came up with the idea of forming the task force.
He said the detectives, all Asian, speak three different languages.
“Now they have the language skills, the experience and investigative skills.” he said. “So this is very important.”
“This task force will build the bridge with our victims, whether it be the language barrier that we previously mentioned, social cultural differences or just a general mistrust of police.”
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