New York State Police will create a special unit devoted to fighting hate crimes, due to the surge in post-election hate crimes, announced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sunday.
Cuomo announced that he ordered the state police to create the special hate crime unit while speaking at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, reports CNN.
“Today I am directing the Division of State Police and the Division of Human Rights to put together a special team of trained professionals that will investigate these hate crime incidents,” Cuomo declared.
Cuomo promised that those found guilty of hate crimes would be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” He also called for an end to the divisiveness and the unpleasant rhetoric that surrounded the election.
“The ugly political discourse of the election did not end on Election Day. In many ways it has gotten worse, [turning] into a social crisis that now challenges our identity as a state and as a nation and our people,” he said.
New York hate crimes went up 31 percent in 2016, according to New York Police Department Commissioner James O’ Neill. He suggested that the presidential campaign rhetoric might have led to the spike, but admitted that he didn’t have hard data to back up his claim.
“At this time last year we had 250. This year we have 328. Specifically against the Muslim population in New York City, we went up from 12 to 25,” O’Neill said Sunday on a radio show.
After the election, reports came out that more hate crimes were being committed in the name of President-elect Donald Trump. Majority of the hate crimes seem to be occurring near schools or college campuses.
Many of the hate crimes have yet to be substantiated.
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