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Elected Officials Speak Out Against 'Alarming Surge' In Violence Against Asian People

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A Hollywood actress is speaking out about an attack on a woman in Flushing that went viral. It comes as federal elected officials are speaking out against what they say is an "alarming surge" in violence against Asian people; CBS2's Andrea Grymes reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: A Hollywood actress is speaking out about an attack on a woman in Flushing that went viral. It comes as lawmakers are reacting to a surge in crime against Asian-Americans. Welcome back, I'm Kristine Johnson.

MAURICE DUBOIS: I'm Maurice DuBois. Federal elected officials are speaking out against what they say is an alarming surge in violence against Asian people.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: But not every crime is classified as a hate crime. CBS 2's Andrea Grymes has more.

ANDREA GRYMES: The video made national headlines. An Asian woman in Flushing viciously pushed to the ground on Roosevelt Avenue. Her son spoke out on CNN.

SAM CHENG: They had a dispute while they were online on the bakery, and the man started acting relatively violently against her.

ANDREA GRYMES: The story went viral with people, including actress Olivia Munn, blasting out pictures of the suspect on social media. Police say the community came through with tips, and they quickly made an arrest. 47-year-old Patrick Mateo charged with assault and harassment.

OLIVIA MUNN: We were seen, and people cared about what happened to us. People cared about what happened to Sam's mom.

ANDREA GRYMES: Today, House Democrats cited this case in a news conference about an alarming increase in targeted attacks on Asian-Americans nationwide. Though in Flushing, Mateo has not been charged with a hate crime. Queens congresswoman Grace Meng.

GRACE MENG: There weren't necessarily evidence of racial slurs that were being used.

ANDREA GRYMES: Regardless, they cited more than 3,000 anti-Asian coronavirus hate incidents in the last year nationwide. In 2019, the NYPD reported only three anti-Asian hate crimes. In 2020, there were 29, 24 of them motivated by COVID-19. The latest stats from January show zero against Asians. Wellington Chen with the Chinatown Partnership says crimes are still underreported in a community on edge.

WELLINGTON CHEN: We are more alert now. We're more concerned about looking around us.

ANDREA GRYMES: House Democrats blame President Trump in part for inflaming tensions. They're pushing for passage of the NO HATE Act and for a public campaign, so victims know how to document a hate crime. In Chinatown, Andrea Grymes, CBS 2 News.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Last summer, the NYPD added a permanent branch of its hate crimes task force to specifically investigate crimes against Asian people.