City Hall, NY — Over the last ten days, five elderly Asian women have been attacked in the Lower East Side and downtown Manhattan. Today, the NYPD classified the string of vicious and unprovoked attacks as hate crimes, noting they appear to have been motivated in part by racial prejudice.
They NYPD and the Hate Crimes Task Force (HCTF) have identified and are searching for five suspects, three Black and two Hispanic females between the ages of 13 and 15.
The five incidents occurred between March 29th and April 4th. The NYPD has released video footage of the attacks and is asking that anyone with information come forward. Individuals with helpful information are urged to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).
Speaker Christine C. Quinn stated, “We are appalled to hear that there is a young group of people on our streets and who are deliberately preying on and attacking senior citizens. I want to thank the NYPD and the HCTF for taking swift action on this case, and I know they will continue their efforts until justice is served. Hate violence of any kind does not have a place in our City and we will not stop our efforts until the perpetrators are found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The recent bias-motivated attacks in the Lower East Side are a terrible reminder that racial intolerance is still with us,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “All violence must be condemned, but these racially-driven attacks are particularly heinous because of their intent to spread widespread fear throughout the Chinese-American community. I know that law enforcement officials are vigorously investigating this crime, and I will continue to stand with them and my colleagues in government to make our community safe for all residents.”
“I am angry and deeply saddened about the shameful and horrific attacks targeting Asian American women in our community,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “Throughout my life, I have worked to protect all New Yorkers from violent crime and to ensure that bias-related crimes are subject to even greater penalties. While I am confident that these offenders will be caught, I urge anyone who has information regarding these acts of violence to come forward before another innocent woman is assaulted. The safety of our community depends on it.”
“We come together today to say that we are very troubled by what appears to be a pattern of harassment and physical violence against people in our community because of their Asian heritage,” said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who represents both Baruch and Gompers Houses, where the attacks are alleged to have occurred. “While the incidents are still under investigation, we want to make it clear that we take the safety of all residents and visitors to our community very seriously, and that we especially will not tolerate threats and violence that are motivated by racial bias. We call on all people of good will to cooperate in the investigation and to work with us to maintain the peace and to promote the mutual respect that allows our diverse Lower East Side community to thrive.”
“To the victims and their families, we are here to support you and hope for a full recovery,” said Comptroller John Liu. “While we hope the five are the extent to which these horrendous attacks occurred, to any victims who haven’t reported, we urge you to come forward. Much appreciation to the NYPD for classifying these heinous acts for what they are: hate crimes. And especially in times of budget cuts, it’s certainly even more unpalatable that we face the possibility of removing 3500 cops from our streets.”
“I am disgusted that these criminals think they can prey on elderly Asian woman and get away with it,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “Patterns of violent hate crime like this demonstrate that we cannot let the State cut our police force down to 1985 levels. This budget season, our first priority must be to keep the public safe and protect all New Yorkers from being targeted by criminals because of their race or background.”
“The recent attacks on five elderly Asian American women in Chinatown remind us of the work we need to do to prevent the recurrence of hate crimes and the deep harm they inflict upon individuals and communities,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “I applaud the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force for their efforts in bringing the perpetrators to justice. There is no room in our city for such senseless acts of violence and hatred. I offer my support for the women subjected to these crimes and their families and urge New Yorkers to respect all communities to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.”
“These recent violent attacks are absolutely unacceptable. I want to encourage anyone who has been a victim or witnessed a crime like this to come forward,” said Council Member Margaret Chin “Any concerns about immigration or legal status should not keep you from coming forward; the Police cannot investigate these crimes if we do not speak up. At the same time, the NYPD needs to work with local elected officials to inform our communities when crimes like this occur. These violent acts illustrate why we must provide afterschool programming for our children, and that we cannot afford to cut Department of Education and Youth programming, even in this difficult year. We recently finished the Department of Education’s “Respect for All” week, which, although directed towards a different specific issue, is the kind of programming we need to instill in our children the concepts of respect and appropriate behavior. I also want to stress that all of our offices are available to help out in this situation, no matter what language you speak or where you are from.”
City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez said: “I am extremely distressed that some young people in my district, who have mothers and grandmothers who also walk these streets, could prey on the mothers and grandmothers of their schoolmates of Asian descent. Bias crimes will not be tolerated when they are committed by a juvenile or by an adult. These acts are hateful and must be punished forcefully.
“I stand here together with my colleagues extremely angered that hateful cowards assaulted five elderly Asian women on the Lower East Side,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “The victims ranging in age from 50 to 71, were jumped and beaten by a group of thugs who need to be apprehended immediately before they cause harm to other innocent people. I am confident that with the help of an outraged community, the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force will arrest these individuals and the District Attorney will then prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Racism, and bias attacks will not be tolerated by the law-abiding citizens of this great city. I urge anyone with information regarding this heinous crime to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).”