Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the NYPD will make the Asian Hate Crime Task Force permanent to fight attacks on the city’s Asian-American community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The task force was created in August.
“Sadly, communities in this city in places like Chinatown, Flushing, Queens, and Southern Brooklyn were feeling the effects of this crisis even before many other New Yorkers were because they were suffering discrimination,” said de Blasio. “We see people blaming a community here for a virus that originated far away, and that people here had nothing to do with at all. And yet, somehow, they’re being blamed and that’s unacceptable.”
“COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on all of us,” said Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, who heads the task force. “Asians have faced a concerning increase in unprovoked racist, verbal attacks, some of them leading to physical assaults. They have become victims of crimes for no reason other than the fact that they are of a certain race.”
Loo said the task force will “send a clear message from the leadership of this city and that message is we support justice. We know the hardship you’re going through. We care and we are doing something about it.”
“It’s unfortunate that this is even necessary,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan, “but Asian-Americans make up a large portion of our city and are often subjected to harassment and crimes just because of who they are. The Asian Hate Crime Task Force will give the NYPD all the tools necessary to protect [the community].”