Story at a glance
- The New York City Police Department announced a new division dedicated to working cases involving racism against Asian Americans.
- The department is looking at instances captured via video, among formally reported cases.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Tuesday announced the creation of a new task force dedicated to investigating mounting numbers of hate crimes against Asian Americans, NBC News reports.
The move follows a surge in racial discrimination against Asian Americans as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. The virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, and President Trump has nicknamed it the “China virus” and “Kung Flu.”
There have been rising instances of discrimination and outbursts of attacks on Asian Americans since the onset of the pandemic. In May, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said about 100 reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans were being reported daily.
“The sentiment among the Asian Americans is that not enough is being done,” NYPD Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo told the press at a news conference. “Everyone’s saying the same thing: ‘The police don’t care, Asian Americans’ voices don’t matter.’ This task force is saying otherwise.”
The task force is currently working on cases without formal police reports but with ample evidence in the form of videos on social media. Loo confirmed officers have “actively searched” for victims in some cases. Several of these recorded attacks involve both verbal and physical assaults in public.
To expand access within the Asian American community, the task force will use translators and other cultural liaisons.
Jo-Ann Yoo, the executive director of the Asian American Federation in New York, told NBC that the new investigative team is much-needed and having cultural liaisons assist with cases will be helpful.
“Utilizing the language and cultural expertise of Asian language speaking law enforcement officers to assist victims of hate crime is welcomed, as was promised by the NYPD to the community in the early days of the quarantine,” Yoo said.