The panel will work with the NYPD to determine if a case should be classified as a hate crime. They will then make a recommendation to the District Attorney's office.
"This panel is another layer of rigorous review to ensure that we get it right, these critical cases will be a work in progress, different circumstances will dictate which cases are reviewed," Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.
The civilian panel will look at the case and make recommendations on charges -- putting civilian eyes on police work and adding another layer of scrutiny when it comes to justice for victims of hate.
Hate crimes city-wide are on the rise this year. Nearly half of the 135 attacks so far in 2021 have been against Asians.
Just this weekend, an undercover Asian officer was assaulted in a Long Island City subway station.
The suspect was a 12-time offender and was charged with a hate crime.
On Saturday night in Chinatown, an Asian man in his 30s was punched in the face inside his car with his young kids in the backseat after a road rage incident.
The suspect yelled racial slurs and fled.
"There is absolutely no place for hate in New York City, as New Yorkers, our greatest strength is our diversity," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The newly formed panel will tackle cases where words may have not been exchanged between a victim and perpetrator.
They will help in situations where making a hate crime determination may be more difficult for investigators.
"They may have seen things we have not seen and ultimately ensure justice for victims which is what we all want," Harrison said.
The panel consists of Devorah Halberstam, Executive Director of the Jewish Children's Museum; Fred Teng, President of the America China Public Affairs Institute; Pia Raymond, author, professor and social worker; Ed Powell, the longtime President of the 70th Precinct Community Council; and David Warren, a member of Community Board 4, a board member of ChekPeds, and an active member of OutCycling.
"It's not legally binding but our recommendation in the world we are living in today need to be looked at in a serious way," Halberstam said.
The panel is by appointment and will meet once a month. Ultimately it will still be up to the DA on which charges to file.
RELATED | Asian man body slammed by ranting man in broad daylight attack in NYC
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