Community advocates denounce violent attacks against Asians, call out New York City officials

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- While assaults on people of Asian descent have risen in New York City, there has also been an increase in support from the community against the targeted crimes.

Community advocates and officials gathered in Queens Sunday to denounce the recent attacks on Asian New Yorkers.

"We will not tolerate anybody in our communities being assaulted, disrespected, because of whatever form of racism those individuals might have in their system or in their bodies," advocate Tony Herbert said.

Herbert referenced one incident that happened in Flushing Tuesday afternoon, where a man was accused of assaulting an Asian woman waiting in line outside a bakery.

The victim fell and hit her head against a newsstand box and was rushed to New York-Presbyterian Queens in stable condition.

"Assaulted as a New Yorker, just standing there doing a New York thing, is not to be tolerated by individuals who are coming out here to hurt them," Herbert said. "The violence in New York City is at an all-time high."

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Herbert, who is founder of the statewide organization "Advocates Without Borders," emphasized that certain things in the local government need to be done in order for the streets to be safer.

"We don't want our police forces defunded, so that way we can get these individuals off the street," he said. "We have to make sure they identify bail reform. Bail reform is good, but there's problems with it, it has to be tweaked. We are letting folks commit crimes, and they are getting a pass to get out of the jail before the ink is even dry on the complaints, only to come back to hurt somebody else. That has to stop."

Herbert also called out New York City officials to "get on your job."

"Protect New Yorkers, so that we can walk down these streets and feel safe," he said.

On Saturday, hundreds from across New York City and the Tri-State showed up in Washington Square Park as well as a solidarity walk in Chinatown during the evening to show support for the Asian community amid the attacks.

The NYPD has recently 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.

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