Exclusive: Governor Hochul discusses gun violence, racism after Buffalo mass shooting

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Governor Kathy Hochul sat down with Eyewitness News exclusively to discuss gun violence and racism just a short time after the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo.

"The people of Buffalo are so grateful for the outpouring of support from all over the state and it's a very difficult time for the community," Hochul said. "It's my hometown but we have seen hate crimes all over the state. I've been to more round tables with the Asian American community, AAPI community, and others who've been subjected to this. So, we realize that this is an opportunity to have an awakening, that we have an opportunity to change laws, to change policies."

Whether it's white supremacy targeting black New Yorkers or anti-Asian violence many have been left wondering, what more can be done?

Many prosecutors say they have difficulties prosecuting hate crimes because of how the law is written.

As of now, hate has to be a substantial or whole motivating factor.

Whereas in most states the requirement is to be partly a factor.

It's an enhancement, not its own crime. In other words, assault as a hate, and so when they plea deal this, often the enhancement gets tossed out.

So many prosecutors argue it should be its own crime, not just an enhancement.

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Governor Hochul says she would "absolutely" support that.

"In the last budget I was able to get the state legislature to put hate crimes into the category of those that you don't just commit it and walk back out on the street, that you can have bail instituted once again," Hochul said.

Meanwhile many have argued, that part of the solution to hate is education.
Governor Hochul for the first time Thursday night weighed in on that issue.

She said she would support a bill that would mandate teaching Asian American history in New York public schools

One hundred percent because it is an important part of our history," Hochul said. "These individuals who came here as immigrants like all of us came, our family members all came as immigrants, they built this country with their hard work and sweat and toil."

A lack of knowledge and appreciation the governor says has fed into negative stereotypes and led to hate crimes.

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