Rally held in NYC after uptick of violent attacks against Asians

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Hundreds from across New York City and the Tri-State showed up in Washington Square Park on Saturday to denounce recent crimes against Asians in New York City and show support for the Asian community.

The NYPD has been slow to classify the attacks as hate crimes.

"Asian Americans - we work hard and were raised to work hard. This attack is being done by a very small bad actor," said rallygoer Van Le.

A solidarity walk was held Saturday night in Chinatown, organized by SafeWalks, to show further support for the Asian community.

"We are definitely here to help, in what way we are still finding out," said SafeWalks volunteer Jen Goma.

The SafeWalks group was founded just last month by Peter Kerre from Brooklyn to keep locals safe after several women were attacked near his home in Bushwick. Now his focus is on Chinatown after four assaults on Asians.

Four Asians were attacked in the last week, including a 71-year-old woman who was punched in the face on a subway platform in Midtown, and a 52-year-old woman attacked outside a bakery in Flushing, suffering a gash to her head, requiring ten stitches.

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In an exclusive interview, CeFaan Kim talks to a woman who believes she was the victim of a violent hate crime after a random, unprovoked attack on a subway train left her bloodied and beaten.

Rev. Al Sharpton also condemned the attacks.

"The results are, we have seen a rise against people in the Asian community. We should not have laryngitis when we see Asians being attacked," he said.

The NYPD has been criticized for failing to classify the attacks as racially-motivated hate crimes, because no words were exchanged, but in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, they say they are rethinking that, and it is something that the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force is now working on.

"Just because we don't have the evidence yet, doesn't mean we're not investigating it as a hate crime," says Asian Hate Crimes Task Force Commanding Officer Stewart Loo.

In 2020, there were 29 attacks on Asian-Americans, according to the NYPD. 24 were spurred by prejudice due to the coronavirus. In 2019, there were just three.

"We do not need to be anything but unequivocal against hate against Asian Americans," Rev. Sharpton added, "If anybody ought to stand together, it's us."

One person has been caught in one of the attacks - he has already been charged and released.

ALSO READ | Man arrested, accused of shoving woman to ground outside Queens bakery
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Police in Queens arrested a man, accused of assaulting an Asian woman waiting in line outside a bakery Tuesday afternoon.

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