Only 3% of reported anti-Asian attacks in NYC led to hate crime convictions, new report finds

  • The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) released a report highlighting that only seven out of the 233 reported anti-Asian attacks in New York City during the first three quarters of 2021 resulted in hate crime convictions.
  • According to Elaine Chiu, Professor of Law at St. John's University, 91 of the reported incidents led to an arrest, and only 41 of these were charged as hate crimes by local prosecutors.
  • Chiu noted that the majority of the victims fell approximately between the ages of 29 and 49, with around 55% of all incidents involving a female victim.
  • Eva Zhao, whose husband Zhiwen Yan was fatally shot in April while delivering food in Queens, called upon authorities for an arrest during the press conference.
  • AABANY board member Chris Kwok listed nine recommendations to address the hate incidents, which include improving hate crime data reporting and implementing reforms to the hate crimes law.

Only 3% of all the reported attacks against Asian Americans in New York City during the first three quarters of 2021 led to hate crime convictions, a recent analysis of local data revealed.

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) reviewed police and court system records in the city and found that out of the 233 reported attacks, only seven resulted in hate crime convictions. 

 

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At a press conference on Tuesday, Elaine Chiu, professor of law at St. John’s University, shared that 91 of the reported incidents led to an arrest and only 41 of them were charged as hate crimes by local prosecutors. At least 20 of the arrest cases were still pending at the time of their review. 

According to Chiu, they also included information sourced from the New York City Mayor’s Office and “traditional media” reports.  

AABANY’s report does not match the New York City Police Department’s reported 118 anti-Asian hate crimes from the same time period in 2021. Observers believe that police numbers are lower than the actual total as it is estimated that over half of all hate crimes are not reported.

Chiu noted that most of the city’s reported anti-Asian incidents occurred in midtown Manhattan. She added that the majority of the victims fell approximately between the ages of 29 and 49, with around 55% of all incidents involving a female victim. 

AABANY’s report, which is the association’s second on anti-Asian violence, further revealed that 10,905 hate incidents were reported to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate from March 2020 to December 2021. Meanwhile, data from the NYPD found a “361% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in NYC from 2020 to 2021.”

AABANY board member Chris Kwok, who served as co-executive editor of the report, listed nine recommendations to begin addressing the rise of hate incidents:

  • Improve public hate crime data reporting
  • Recognize the community as victim and investigative partner
  • Develop better guidance for hate crime investigations
  • Reform the hate crimes law
  • Fully fund the study, prevention, and prosecution of hate crimes
  • Develop anti-bias programming, training in cultural sensitivity, and trauma-assisted counseling
  • Remedy barriers to reporting of hate incidents
  • Improve investigative training and tools available to government agencies
  • Revisit bail reform

Eva Zhao, whose husband Zhiwen Yan was fatally shot in April while delivering food in Queens, called upon authorities for an arrest during the press conference.

More than a month after her husband’s death, the NYPD still has yet to locate the customer who is being eyed as a person of interest. 

With the help of a translator, Zhao said: “I feel scared that if we do not catch this criminal, if he murders someone again. I really don’t want to see another family go through the same kind of pain.”

New York State Assemblymember Ron Kim, who was among the speakers at AABANY’s press conference, pointed out that efforts against anti-Asian hate require “some tough conversations about how to overcome the economic injustices that pit communities of color against each other.”

“We also need to continue to focus on, what are some of the long-term solutions and have some uncomfortable discussions around economic injustice around communities of color and immigrants, and the reason why every time we have a social or economic or health downturn, Asians are always pitted against Black and brown communities,” Kim said. “That’s something that will break the cycle of violence, in addition to the legislative, legal fixes that we must implement now.”

Former U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch condemned the recent attacks as “an endless tide of anti-Asian violence that we’ve seen across our city.”

“It may be part of us, but we are better than this,” Lynch continued. “We can make people safe. We can make people safe feel [sic] welcome in their communities. We can give them peace and security and we can eliminate this hate that is based on nothing more than a distinction without a difference.”

 

Featured Image via 世界日報記者

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