People of Asian descent are being attacked - and the number of crimes is on the rise.
MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: Happening today, a push to put an end to crimes like this. People of Asian descent being attacked. The number of crimes is on the rise. Data show there were 29 anti-Asian attacks last year. 24 of them were because of COVID fears. The year before that, there were three. Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis is live in Harlem with what is happening today to stop the crimes. Marcus.
MARCUS SOLIS: And Michelle, it really is a disturbing trend nationwide and here in New York-- really brought to the forefront by a number of incidents this week. And civil rights leaders will be speaking out about it later this morning.
Now, the incidents date back to last summer when an 89-year-old grandmother was set on fire. A number of incidents, as you said, 29 last year reported. And so far this year, the trend continues.
Just this week, at least three Asian women punched or shoved in unprovoked attacks-- two on the subway. Now the NYPD has created an Asian hate crimes task force, but there has been frustration in the Asian-American community that the department has been quick to say the incidents aren't being investigated as hate crimes, citing the fact no words are exchanged beforehand. In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, the head of that task force insists that bias is looked into, such as in the incident on the E Train where the victim said she felt was being targeted.
STEWART LOO: I think the crime was investigated as a potential hate crime. I think the department doesn't express what we do correctly. Just because we don't the have evidence yet, does not mean we're not investigating it as a hate crime.
MARCUS SOLIS: Well, here this morning at the National Action Network, the Reverend Al Sharpton joined by community leaders and elected officials to condemn these ongoing acts of violence.