U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis held a press conference March 23 at Milestone Park on 18th Avenue and 81st Street to stand with officers of the 62nd Precinct and Asian-Americans in condemning recent attacks and hate crimes across the city.
“It is heartbreaking that members of our community are being attacked just because of their race,” Malliotakis said. “Asian-American parents and business owners are fearful to go to work or send their children to school or to even go out in public. This is unacceptable.”
She said that in 2021, there have been more than 23 suspected hate crimes against Asian-Americans in New York City. Also, between March 19, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020, there were 2,808 first-hand accounts of anti-Asian hate crimes in 47 states and Washington, D.C.
“Yesterday, I had a great meeting with the senior leadership of the NYPD in [Patrol Borough] Brooklyn South,” Malliotakis said. “We discussed the rise in crime in general, in particular the hate crimes that are going on in the Brooklyn South area. The department is taking significant steps to address these concerns.”
In August 2020, the NYPD announced the creation of an Asian Hate Crime Task Force. The task force is staffed by 25 officers of Asian descent who speak a combined nine Asian languages.
“Due to the work of this task force and the work of Capt. Tao Chen and his precinct, the people in the 62 are safer today,” she said. “If we see instances of hate, regardless of who it’s against, we will come together and denounce it and put pressure to make sure that the perpetrators are held accountable.”
Malliotakis has proposed legislation to address the problem.
“I’m supporting legislation I hope will come to the forefront soon that will provide grants from the Department of Justice to local municipalities and state law enforcement organizations to make sure we not only properly report these crimes, that we have a clear understanding of the trends and also work together to give the men and women in blue the tools and resources they need to keep their job,” she said.
She also suggested educating young people. Two 13-year-old boys were arrested for allegedly trying to set an 89-year-old Asian woman’s clothing on fire in Bensonhurst last July. They were charged with third-degree assault.
Asian-American George Lee told the group that he and his wife were attacked months before the pandemic.
“At 10:30 p.m. on a Friday, we were on Chambers Street when a young man tried to push us both onto the tracks,” he said. “We fought back. Somebody called the police and it took 20 minutes before anyone showed up. We heard a lot of rallies about recent attacks. This is not a new thing.”
He also asked politicians who attend rallies what they will do to fix the problem.
“When will they recognize New York City has become a really dangerous city?” he asked.