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Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Spark Support for New Hate Crime Bills

Hurt and beaten Asian woman who stands against violence and cruelty towards Asian Americans

Effects of Increase in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

Anti-Asian hate crimes that arose when the pandemic started are continuing into 2021.

From March 2020 to December 2020, the Stop Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate center received 2,800 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate crimes. According to an analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino, hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities decreased by 7% in 2020 but those targeting Asian people increase by nearly 150%. Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles experienced significantly higher rates of hate crimes in 2020 as compared to 2019.

For instance, the analysis reveals an 833% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York. 3 incidents occurred in 2019, rising to 28 incidents in 2020. Los Angeles and Boston saw significant increases as well, from 7 to 15 and 6 to 14, respectively.

Keep in mind that these numbers could be much higher. Victims tend to avoid reporting hate crimes, one reason being that they don’t believe the police will prioritize their case or even bat an eye.

However, our lawyers believe that the police are on high-alert for this new wave of anti-Asian hate crimes now more than ever. Back in April 2020, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a bulletin responding to hate crime activity during COVID-19. In the bulletin, he stated, “a key element in our efforts to protect [vulnerable] communities is encouraging them to report all crimes,” and considering the number of reports that Stop AAPI Hate received, those efforts seem to be working.

The Stop AAPI Hate center received thousands of firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate crimes, some of which include:

  • I was waiting to enter [a pharmacy] to get my prescription when a group of construction workers (not social distancing) made fun of me by mocking me, fake coughing, spitting at me, and making slant eyes gestures until I asked them to stop. No one else called these people out. (68 y.o, Oakland, CA)
  • I was waiting to cross the street when I felt something on my head and it turned out to be spit all over my hair and the back of my coat. I was repeatedly spat on by a big white guy. (67 y.o., New York, NY)
  • I am posting this on behalf of my dad, a 71-year old Korean adoptee. Yesterday, he was chased out of a rural convenience store after asking to use the restroom while traveling along I-5 through California to get to Portland, Oregon. (71 y.o, Northern CA)
  • I was called a “yellow motherf***er” by a stranger in an elevator and told to “go back where I came from.” After exiting the elevator, the stranger picked me up by my shoulders & threw me against the elevator bank. (67 y.o., Honolulu, HI)

As you can see, anti-Asian hate crimes can be committed verbally and physically. Thus, be mindful of your words and actions to best avoid a hate crime accusation.

California Lawmakers Discuss New Hate Crime Legislation

A coalition of California lawmakers recently announced their support for several bills to address the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes incidents in CA. The coalition supports bills that would impose tougher punishments for convicted hate crime offenders, provide support for victims, improve police training, and fund security for targeted ethnic institutions.

Currently, California considers hate crimes ― including felony hate crimes resulting in bodily injury ― as non-violent. As a result, convicted offenders get access to early parole opportunities and other benefits they otherwise wouldn’t receive had their offense been classified as violent.

Thus, if these bills pass into law, you could be looking at stiff consequences upon a hate crime conviction.

It’s important to remember that emotions and tensions are high right now in the US, so anything you say or do could be taken out of context and result in hate crime charges. If this has happened to you, let us know so we can defend your good name. Call (805) 467-6060 today!