NY Gov. Kathy Hochul announces actions in anti-hate crime action plan

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Gov. Hochul signs anti-hate legislation to protect, educate
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Gov. Hochul announced a public education campaign and security grants for locations threatened by recent incidents of hate. N.J. Burkett has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- After the mass shooting in Colorado that devastated the LGBTQ community and a thwarted threat to shoot a Manhattan synagogue, Governor Kathy Hochul is increasing New York's anti-hate crime efforts.

Gov. Hochul announced actions to combat hate crimes Tuesday morning, to protect vulnerable communities and educate the ignorant people who victimize them.

The two bills she signed will require people convicted of hate crimes to undergo mandatory training in hate crime prevention and establish a statewide educational awareness campaign "around inclusion, tolerance, understanding and diversity."

She said both bills promote educational awareness.

"Our hearts are broken after a weekend during which LGBTQ Americans were massacred and Jewish New Yorkers were targeted in horrific acts of hateful violence," Hochul said. "New York belongs to the good, not those with hate in their hearts - we're taking bold action to reclaim our city and state from the haters, bigots and white supremacists. Domestic-based violent extremism is the greatest threat to our homeland security, and that is why we continue to remain laser-focused on combatting hate and keeping New Yorkers safe."

And New York will establish a statewide campaign via the internet and social media to encourage tolerance and understanding. That effort will be managed by the state Division of Human Rights.

"The Division will work with community and faith-based organizations, schools and local governments to ensure that this message of accepting diversity and tolerance is spread far and wide," said Commissioner Maria Imperial with the Division of Human Rights.

At Hochul's direction, New York State Police has increased protection for communities at risk of hate crimes.

"We are sending a clear message that we protect all individuals that call New York home," said Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado. "Amidst this rise in bigotry and violence in New York and across the nation, we are bolstering our response to prevent hate crimes before they happen to ensure all New Yorkers can live without fear."

The actions come as a person of interest was taken into custody after repeatedly vandalized a gay bar in Hell's Kitchen.

"I worry what the next move will be and if they do it to other gay bars in the neighborhood," VERS bar owner David Deparolesa said. "We need to get out the word and why we are talking."

Security has also been increased at synagogues across New York City and Long Island after two men were arrested for allegedly making threats to attack one in the city.

Mayor Eric Adams said those threats were not idle and the extra protection for the synagogues would continue through Hanukkah.

Former NYPD intelligence official Mitchell Silber says since the recent takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, computerized filters have seen a five-time increase in hate-filled tweets.

"Like from Jaws, I think we need a bigger boat," Silber said. "Should we be doing this 24x7? How do we cover the sheer volume? When someone is not just talking about doing something it sounds like they have a real plan in mind."

Hochul also blasted the social media platforms that allow hate speech to grow unchecked. The suspect caught in last week's synagogue shooting openly communicated his plans with others on Twitter.

"This is an area of frustration for me, to be honest with you," she said. "Logic would dictate that these platforms should not have a single word of hate speech allowed."

Hochul said federal law "makes it almost impossible for us to do what we want to do, which is to be to say, you cannot allow this speech. And in the event that occurs, you have seconds to take it down, as we've seen, the Buffalo shooting was posted, but it did come down I think within two minutes, within two minutes, that spreads around the world."

The governor said many had high hopes for social media bettering society, and "maybe some of that was successful, but there's awful lot, of an awful lot of bad that came with the good. And we're seeing the aftermath of that."

"This is a platform, particularly the dark web, where people are learning the techniques, sharing information inspiring each other, making martyrs out of each other," she said. "And this is what we are trying to deal with it. It's something that I don't think anyone could have foreseen in the early days in social media, but it's with us today. We can't turn our eyes away from it. We have to just deal with the circumstances we have. And that's what today is about."

RELATED The Countdown: Colorado nightclub shooting; NYC synagogue threats

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