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Bill de Blasio's advise to curb anti-Asian hate: NYPD must confront 'hurtful' conduct even if it's not a crime

The Democratic leader's remarks came in the wake of rising hate crimes against Asians in the Big Apple and the killing of a number of women of Asian descent in Atlanta earlier this week
UPDATED MAR 19, 2021
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD officers (Getty Images)
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD officers (Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday, March 18, said law-keepers should “confront” people accused of “hurtful” behavior even if it doesn’t match the level of a crime. The Democratic leader, when asked by the reporters whether the NY Police Department (NYPD) and the city authorities could be doing more to thwart the alarming rise in hate crimes against Asians, said warnings could be a last resort. Hate crimes against Asians in the US have come under the scanner in the wake of the fatal shootings in various massage parlors in Atlanta earlier this week that saw deaths of eight people. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent. 

De Blasio, whose wife is a woman of color, told the media: “Even if something is not a criminal case, a perpetrator being confronted by the city, whether it’s NYPD or another agency, and being told that what they’ve done was very hurtful to another person — and could, if ever repeated, lead to criminal charges — that’s another important piece of the puzzle.” He added: “That’s why we need these reports.”


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When asked how the so-called “confrontations” would work, Hizzoner said the NYPD has already been trained at doling out warnings. “If someone has done something wrong, but not rising to a criminal level, it’s perfectly appropriate for an NYPD officer to talk to them to say, ‘that was not appropriate, and if you did that on a higher level, that would be a crime’,” the 59-year-old mayor said. 

Activists demonstrate against violence towards women and Asians following Tuesday night's shootings on March 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested after a series of shootings at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead, including six Asian women. (Getty Images)

“I think that has an educating impact on people. I think it has a sobering impact that we need. That’s why we need every report,” said De Blasio, who thinks a simple warning could help in reducing violence. 

“I assure you, if an NYPD officer calls you or shows up at your door to ask you about something you did, it makes people think twice,” he said, adding: “We need that.”

Hate crimes against Asian on rise in NYC

Hate crimes against Asians are also seeing a spike in New York City, which was affected during the Black Lives Matter protests last year, like many other cities in the US. Cops recently said three Asian victims were targeted in two separate bias crimes across the Big Apple this week. One of them, a 41-year-old woman humiliated by a man who poured his drink on the back of her neck and bags when she bent over to pick up packages on Eighth Avenue near West 38th Street in Hell’s Kitchen on Monday (March 15) evening. According to authorities and police sources who confirmed the news, the man allegedly shouted “Go back to China!” at her before leaving, the New York Post reported

These incidents, along with the massacre in Atlanta, prompted the NYPD to boost patrolling in the Asian-American communities. The Post reported that in Chinatown, five officers with the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force were patrolling the streets and handing out fliers written in English and Chinese to residents asking them to speak out.