We have a followup on the arrests of several young people in connection with the assaults on four Asian women and one man on the Lower East Side earlier this month. On April 9th, police took three suspects into custody and were searching for several others. We now have some more details.
According to CB3’s Susan Stetzer, who was briefied by NYPD officials, 7 suspects (ranging in age from 9 to 15) were arrested. It had been widely reported that the attacks, which begin March 31st, all targeted Asian women. but apparently an Asian man was also targeted. Due to the fact that a single ethnic group had been singled out, the Hate Crimes Task Force was called in.
A day after police released surveillance video showing one of the attacks at the Gompers Houses, parents of some of the kids came forward. The suspects – five girls and two boys – were charged with harassment, assault and other charges. Three of the attacks took place at the Baruch Houses. We’re told five of the suspects live at Baruch. The others are not from the neighborhood. According to police, the beatings were part of “a game.”
Last week, police, City Councilmember Margaret Chin and other community leaders visited senior centers in the neighborhood to explain to residents what had transpired and to reassure them that the NYPD takes hate crimes very seriously. The injuries suffered by the victims were not severe. But as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted at a recent press conference, the emotional trauma this type of crime is nothing to take lightly.
One other note: elected officials have highlighted the fact that the kids were identified through the use of surveillance cameras. These cameras were installed using funds allocated by the City Council.