DAVID NOVARRO: New York City is launching a new campaign in the wake of a rash of attacks against Asian people. Now, we have seen a rise of violence against the community as the pandemic’s spread across the city and the country. Eyewitness News reporter CeFaan Kim live at City Hall with the details. CeFaan.
CEFAAN KIM: Well, David, an important first step– that is what community leaders are calling this after a year of trying to get more action– a year– of trying to get more action from City Hall on this issue. The mayor today finally addressing the problem during his daily briefing today. This, of course, after a number of Eyewitness News exclusives last week– four Asian-American victims attacked within two days. Many of the victims were elderly and vulnerable. All of the assaults were unprovoked.
And after Eyewitness News learned the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crimes Task Force is unfunded and an all-volunteer force, many in the community have been furious that authorities are slow to investigate these incidents as potential hate crimes. But when we sat down exclusively with the task force’s commanding officer, we learned, in fact, they have been. Now, today, this from the mayor.
BILL DE BLASIO: If you’re even thinking about committing a hate crime, if you dare to raise your hand against a member of our Asian communities, you will suffer the consequences. We have the strongest efforts in this country to fight hate crimes. The NYPD is focused like never before on finding anyone who commits a hate crime and making sure they suffer the penalties they deserve for what they’ve done.
GRACE MENG: Thank you to so many other communities of color who have stood with us and stood publicly against this sort of discrimination. That allyship is incredibly important and meaningful. Here in New York, we recently saw cases of these hate incidents from the Filipino man who was slashed across the face on a New York City subway to the Asian-American woman in my district who was violently shoved to the ground.
STEWART LOO: Task force is here to help in all aspects of investigation. And we are here to guarantee a strong, appropriate response to the hate that’s infecting our city. The task force consists of members that come to the community to serve the community.
CEFAAN KIM: Now, meanwhile, we are learning of yet another incident being investigated by the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. Last Tuesday, on West Houston between Greene and Mercer, a 30-year-old Asian-American woman was sprayed by a liquid, possibly pepper spray, by someone in a moving vehicle. No words were exchanged. It wasn’t reported to cops until two days later. This, of course, is another obstacle. Many in this community are reluctant to come forward, another reason why this campaign today was announced today at City Hall.