NYPD shake-up: Head of Hate Crimes unit reassigned amid complaints from community activists

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ByCeFaan Kim via WABC logo
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
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The NYPD will replace the commanding officers of both Special Victims Division and Hate Crime Task Force as part of routine reshuffling. CeFaan Kim has the details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The NYPD said it will replace the commanding officers of both Special Victims Division and Hate Crime Task Force as part of routine reshuffling in a new administration.

Deputy Inspector Michael King, head of the Special Victims Division, and Inspector Jessica Corey, head of the Hate Crime Task Force, will be reassigned.

The move is described as a routine reshuffling to get new eyes on the units, which are under public scrutiny, in the Adams administration.

However, during a one-on-one sit down interview with Mayor Eric Adams this week, Eyewitness News presented him with inconsistencies in how attacks against Asian New Yorkers are investigated versus victims from other communities.

Among the several cases mentioned was that of Esther Lee. The case involved a man on the A train, spitting at a woman who refused to give him a fist bump.

In an Eyewitness News exclusive, the man can be heard calling the woman a "carrier" before unloading his vitriol.

"I was literally against the wall in a moving train with nowhere to go," Lee said.

It happened in October in Manhattan. But even more painful than this incident, Lee says, was the way she was treated by police.

When she filed a police report, she says the detective twice refused to include the words hurled at her in the report.

"He said I think you're over exaggerating," Lee said. "You're taking a situation and blowing it out of proportion."

Eventually Lee demanded to speak to the commanding officer and got the head of the NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force on the phone.

Lee was expecting sympathy from Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey. That's not what she says she received.

"Jessica Corey telling me, 'you know you really should not have filmed him, you really should not have taken your phone and started taking footage of him because you probably triggered him,'" Lee said.

On Tuesday, Eyewitness News reporter CeFaan Kim sat down with Adams and presented him with the allegations.

"This is the first time someone has come to me with concerns," Adams said. "It should not work that way. First of all it should've been included, that's part of the investigation."

On Wednesday, the NYPD announced Corey was being reassigned as part of routine reshuffling to get new eyes on units which are under public scrutiny.

"I don't want a leader in that area that starts off with saying why something is not a possible hate crime," Adams said.

In a statement an NYPD spokesperson added:

"The incident was looked into by the Hate Crime Task Force and both parties were interviewed. A conferral was made with the NYPD's Legal Bureau as well as the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and a legal determination was made that the facts of the case did not meet current hate crime statutes."

The NYPD statement went on to say:

"The Hate Crime Task Force works tirelessly to investigate all hate crimes and bring justice to the victims. Recent changes to the Hate Crime Task Force were not related to this case nor were they disciplinary in nature."

It's unclear which department the Deputy Inspector is being reassigned to.

ALSO READ | NYC Mayor Eric Adams addresses violence, hate crimes in exclusive one-on-one

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