NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force chief: Attacks are 'not new'
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The commander of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Asian Hate Crimes Task Force said anti-Asian hate crimes in the state are “absolutely not new,” despite the recent spike in the number of offenses.

Inspector Tommy Ng said Asian Americans are “more vocal” today because newer generations are being born in the U.S.

"This is absolutely not new, but what makes Asian Americans be more vocal these days is we have more second or third generation Asian Americans being born in the United States, that we are part of America," Ng told CBSN anchor Vladimir Duthiers.

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"We speak the language, we cultivate the American ways of life,” he added.

Anti-Asian hate crimes surged in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, with sharp increases observed in 15 major cities, according to hate crime data from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

In cities that were reviewed in the report, hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 169 percent when comparing the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021.

The highest increase observed by the study was in New York, where hate crimes spiked by 223 percent.

Ng said that social media has also played a role in the increased reporting of anti-Asian hate crimes. 

“We do see social media as being posted online on various media platforms. At the same time, Asian Americans are more proactive in documenting these situations nowadays,” Ng said.

He added that Asian Americans are “ensuring their right of being protected.”

Ng, when prompted by Duthiers, said the “common denominator” among anti-Asian hate crime perpetrators in New York are individuals with mental illness.

“I think the focus should be on, you know, a common denominator that some of these attacks, the perpetrator do have mental illness,” Ng said.

The commander said some of the incidents reported are “driven or motivated by the mental illness.”

Ng, when prompted by Duthiers, said despite the fact that a number of viral videos of anti-Asian hate crime incidents show African American perpetrators, in his opinion “the race does not play a major role in these attacks."

When pressed on how anti-Asian attacks can be defined as hate crimes if they are not race driven, Ng said it depends on “particular situations and circumstances,” including if any racial statement were made or if similar incidents occurred around the same time in the area.

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Asked if the pandemic has affected his job when it comes to anti-Asian hate crimes, Ng responded “absolutely.”

"With the downturn of the financial situations, not just in New York City but everywhere in the United States, we do see and experience an increase in those types of situations," Ng said.

"It is more difficult for police officers to do their job, definitely yes, and what we have to do is ensure that every part of New York City is being protected,” he added.

Last month, the Senate passed legislation aimed at combating the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. The bill now heads to the House, where Democrats are expected to take up their version.