New York City’s Asian Hate Crime Task Force is now permanent, officials announced this week.
The group, which was formed last month, will continue to document and address incidents of hate toward Asian Americans, which persist as COVID-19 remains in the country.
The task force, led by Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, is under the New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force.
It includes two captains, two sergeants and 25 detectives who speak multiple Asian languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Fukienese, Korean and Tagalog.
Hate has NO place in New York City.
Today we announced the Asian Hate Crime Task Force, made up of 25 Asian American NYPD officers to investigate hate crimes.
Call 911 to report a hate crime. You will NOT be asked about immigration status.
— City of New York (@nycgov) September 16, 2020
“Since the pandemic, 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 at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s briefing Wednesday, according to 1010 WINS.
From March 19 to Aug. 5, Stop AAPI Hate — a national coalition monitoring anti-Asian discrimination — received a total of 2,583 reports from 47 states. New York reported 340 (14.13%) of them.
“I’m a healthcare worker. I saw a mask-less man sit across from me on the subway. I moved to the other side of the train car and he followed. He spat and coughed on the subway while yelling racial slurs. No one stood up for me,” one from NYC alleged.
Another claimed, “I called a [rideshare] to go to the doctor (I was undergoing IVF — nothing COVID related). I was wearing a mask. When the driver saw me, he sped away and canceled the ride.”
Anti-Asian hate crime numbers are believed to be worse than documented. Factors such as language barriers, cultural differences and fear of retaliation all affect reporting. Additionally, victims can be reluctant about filing or distrustful of the police.
“This task force will bridge that gap,” Loo said on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to condemn racism against Asian Americans tied to the pandemic, according to the Associated Press. The resolution, which links the rise in stigma to offensive coronavirus terms — “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus” and “Kung Flu” — calls on all public officials to investigate anti-Asian hate crimes.
Feature Image Screenshot via NYC Mayor’s Office