In light of the staggering increase in Asian American hate crimes, NYPD Community Affairs Chief Jeffrey Maddrey joined Councilman Peter Koo and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on a walkthrough tour of Flushing on Wednesday, April 14, to talk to local business owners and residents addressing the issues facing the Asian American community.
During a press conference outside the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, Koo explained that business owners and residents alike needed to know that the NYPD cares about the community’s concerns.
“They want to stop the Asian hate crimes, and they want to be part of the solution,” Koo said.
Koo reported that local businesses have been the victims of harassment, bias crimes and racist messages like “kill Chinese.” Koo wants to make sure that the Flushing business community – many of them “mom and pop” stores – has the information it needs to stay safe.
“The police cannot solve all these problems on their own. The police have to be part of the solution. Our local merchants need to know that the police are here to help. They need to know how to report bias incidents and hate crimes,” Koo said.
NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey emphasized that the NYPD supported the Flushing community and that no one should endure or be subjected to racist attacks, reminding everyone that New York City was much better than that.
The NYPD chief urged all communities to stand against hate and violence and that the hatred needed to stop.
“We’re here to strengthen those partnerships today. And we’re going to go around here to visit the community with Community Affairs members of the 109th Precinct, members of the mayor’s office, and our elected officials to say that we’re standing in solidarity,” Maddrey said.
Richards pointed out that Queens county is the most diverse county in the nation.
“We believe in building bridges, not walls. We break down walls here in Queens County because we understand that our diversity is our strength,” Richards said.
He reassured the Flushing community that they had his support and encouraged residents to report hate crimes to authorities.
“If you see anyone attacking anyone, spreading hate, we need you to call it in. Don’t hide. We need to make sure it’s documented as well. And we need to make sure our community-based organizations are an essential part of this conversation so that people feel that they have a voice there as well,” the borough president said.
Accompanied by officers from the 109th Precinct, Maddrey and elected officials toured Flushing. The chief talked to some business owners, letting them know that they had a partner in the NYPD. He told them not to be afraid to call the NYPD and get in touch with the community affairs officers of the 109th Precinct.
“If you don’t call us and we’re not aware that there’s an issue, we can’t send the resources. Not only for that incident but even for a follow-up. You have to let us know what’s going on,” Maddrey explained to Maxine, the owner of Maxine Noodles.
“We definitely learned to speak up, so you’ll definitely hear from us,” Maxine responded.
Ikhwan Rim, the owner of IM Jewelry and radio host of NY Radio Korea, shared that one of his listeners asked him how they should react if they were attacked.
Maddrey advised that the first option should always be to walk away and call for help, and if possible, to record the incident.
However, both Maddrey and Richards said that safety should always be a priority. Captain O’Connell, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, added that people shouldn’t stress recording an incident.
“In today’s times, chances are there’s a camera watching. Don’t stress out recording yourself,” O’Connell said and recommended calling 911 and remaining at the location as long as it was safe.
“If you got to run out of there, just run first. Run to safety, call 911 and let the police come and let them do their investigation,” Maddrey said. “I always speak against using violence and being physical. I mean, if you have no choice if you’re in a corner and you have to protect your life, of course. But use safety first.”