Amid heightened public scrutiny over New York’s public safety measures, in part arising from persistent attacks on Asian Americans, Inspector Jessica Corey, head of the local Hate Crimes Task Force, was reportedly reassigned on Wednesday.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) reportedly described the move, which coincides with the reassignment of Deputy Inspector Michael King, head of the Special Victims Division, as part of a routine reshuffling; however, it also comes a day after a Korean American victim accused Corey of mishandling her case. In an interview with ABC7 News reporter CeFaan Kim, Esther Lee detailed an October 2021 incident in which a man spat at her and used offensive words inside the subway.
Lee caught the moment on video and reported it to police, but the responding officer reportedly refused to include the man’s words in her report.
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“He [the detective] said I think you’re overexaggerating,” Lee told Kim. “You’re taking a situation and blowing it out of proportion.”
Lee eventually managed to speak with Corey on the phone; however, the Hate Crimes chief’s response only made her feel worse.
“You know you really should not have filmed him, you really should not have taken your phone and started taking footage of him, because you probably triggered him,” Lee recalled Corey telling her.
Kim presented Lee’s allegations to Mayor Eric Adams in an interview on Tuesday.
Adams, who had lobbied to reform the state’s bail laws just the day before, said that Kim was the first person to come to him with concerns, acknowledging, “It should not work that way.”
“I don’t want a leader in that area that starts off with saying why something is not a possible hate crime,” Adams told Kim. “It would be troubling to me if someone is not clear on a direction I want my hate crime unit to perform.”
The next day, the NYPD announced that Corey had been reassigned, along with Deputy Inspector King. NYPD spokesperson Sgt. Edward Riley, however, said the incident did not influence Corey’s reassignment.
“The incident was looked into by the Hate Crime Task Force, and both parties were interviewed. A conferral was made with the NYPD’s Legal Bureau as well as the Manhattan district attorney’s office and a legal determination was made that the facts of the case did not meet current hate crime statutes,” Riley said in a statement.
Riley also pointed out that the city recorded 130 anti-Asian hate crimes and made 85 anti-Asian hate crime arrests in 2021, according to the New York Daily News.
“Recent changes to the Hate Crime Task Force were not related to this case, nor were they disciplinary in nature. All transfers and command assignments are made based on the needs of the department,” he added.
Featured Image via ABC7 News (left) and NBC New York (right)