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The NYPD says it's investigating four attacks on Asian Americans in the city this past week, and the community says it is refusing to stand by idly; CBS2's Cory James reports.
- Now to a developing story here at home. The NYPD says it is investigating four attacks on Asian-Americans in the city this past week, including one that looks like a hate crime. Tonight, the community says it is refusing to stand by idly. CBS 2's Cory James has more.
CORY JAMES: [? In ?] Lenox Avenue and 139th Street is where police say a 27-year-old man was punched twice in the face this past Monday. The victim says that the suspect also took his cell phone and then told him to go back to China. Now, police say that they are looking for that suspect while people are speaking out.
- What can I do?
CORY JAMES: That is the question Gail Poli asked himself after hearing about four New York City attacks involving Asian people, one possibly a hate crime according to NYPD.
- It's not about us. It's a reaction.
CORY JAMES: Trying to find a way to help, Poli sat in the corner of Canal and Center Streets in Chinatown Saturday with more than a dozen other people, all of them volunteering with Safe Walks NYC, a Brooklyn-based organization that escorts people to and from subway stations.
PETER KERRI: People feel-- you know, they feel unsafe. There have been attacks on mostly people who are walking alone. So our presence helps provide that sense of security to them. It's better to deter something from happening.
CORY JAMES: CBS 2 has learned from police that in 2019 there were three anti-Asian hate crimes. Compare that to last year when there were 29. 24 of those believed to be connected to COVID-19. Still, with cases on the rise across the country, New York demonstrators marched in solidarity at Washington Square Park Saturday afternoon.
- And I'm here to promote, you know, conscious of speaking up, talking, and fighting for what you believe.
CORY JAMES: And by night, this group took over, standing by, wearing reflective gear in case they receive a call from anyone worried about their safety.
PETER KERRI: If requests come up, we will dispatch out to provide safe walks.
CORY JAMES: And right now, requests for Safe Walks NYC can only be made on Instagram. The group is hoping to have an app developed so that they can reach more people throughout the city. In Harlem, Cory James, CBS 2 News.