Following an increase in attacks against Asian-Americans, the NYPD announced the creation of an Asian Hate Crime Task Force on Tuesday.
“During the coronavirus pandemic starting in March, New York City experienced 21 anti-Asian hate crimes,” said Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison. “Either verbal attack or physical assault, we saw a spike in every borough across the city. Asian New Yorkers were attacked on trains, buses, parks, restaurants and walking in their own neighborhoods.”
Anti-Chinese flyers referring to the pandemic were posted in southern Brooklyn neighborhoods in June. One sign read, “Chinese are destroying Bay Ridge.”
The creation of the task force comes one month after two men attacked an Asian woman and set her shirt on fire in Bensonhurst. In response to the attack — which has not been labeled a hate crime — a rally was held at Seth Low Park, organized by rapper China Mac, and conferences were hosted by Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and Councilmember Mark Treyger.
The new task force, which will be led by Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, is composed of 25 Asian-American detectives who speak a number of Asian languages.
“This is a huge statement and it’s saying that we care about Asian-Americans, that NYPD supports social justice, and that NYPD will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind,” said Loo. “Be it language barriers, cultural differences or fear of the police, this task force will gain cooperation through the investigation, the arrest and prosecution process.”