Prosecuting hate crimes presents challenge amid surge in attacks on Asian Americans

Community leaders speak out after prosecutors drop hate crime charges in New York stabbing case
5:02 | 03/05/21

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Transcript for Prosecuting hate crimes presents challenge amid surge in attacks on Asian Americans
No one of the biggest challenges in stopping Jay climbs is prosecuting them hey I want to differ feisty and jurisdiction further complicating and prolonging the legal process so. How did authorities find concrete evidence that a suspect was motivated. I hate to find KR are still from our affiliate here in New York Debbie ABC has the story. A wave of violent unprovoked attacks against Asian Americans consuming the city of New York. 56 year old man in Manhattan this week. Pummeled for no apparent reason. A man riding the subway sliced across his face from cheek to cheek a woman. Viciously shoved in Queens a 71 year old woman punched in her face in Chinatown a 36 year old man stabbed in the back. Now fighting to stay alive. Is not a general news I have seen this DA could he blows your mind there's been jailed woman older stuff but now what that's patient gets. No good reason and suddenly beside not to prosecute. Law community leaders simmering man this. Read on the Manhattan DA's doorstep after he dropped the second degree attempted murder as a hate crime charge just a day after it was filed. Saying there was no evidence to suspect saw his victim's face because he was wearing a mask and hat. This shouldn't have to yeah. I can't fathom why wouldn't one changed ABC news analyst and former NYPD chief of detectives Bob voice says any unprovoked attack. Absent any other apparent motive. He would charges hate crimes a spokesperson for the Manhattan DA in a statement says the defendant's statement that he didn't like the way to victim looked at him. Does not establish a hate crime when the evidence to date shows that he ran up to the victim from behind. And they have never actually seen his face. He comes in the only crimes are required principal who finish. And it's and we can't they don't have a machine analyzes every people's minds doctor. It was Kirsten felt as a criminal justice professor at California State University she says it's incredibly difficult to prove that motive. Beyond a reasonable doubt to reach a conviction. According to the most recent statistics. Tracked by Syracuse university in 2019 through June of that year of the 99 federal hate crimes charges. Only seventeen have been prosecuted. They handling of the stabbing in Chinatown isn't the first attack then embrace the community. Last July and 89 year old grandmother and Brooklyn was lit on fire. In that attack at and so many others at the outset of the investigations police said no racial slurs were hurled so hate crime charges were ruled out. As a result of that fury the NYPD created the Asian hate crimes task force yet. Even just last month after the 71 year old was lodged in her face on the subway. Police said because no words are exchanged it was not racially motivated. Why weren't cops investigating at least the possibility we sat down one on one of the commanding officer of the task force who set the record straight. I think that's what department doesn't express what we do correctly. Just because we don't that is yet does not mean we're not investigating as a crime historically you know Asian Americans have been victims at a disproportionate rates and New York City. The service to get from the police department. They don't really look forward. Because general speak English. They're afraid of police this cultural barriers and differences. Console on the report of an Asian Americans don't want to come forward. And designed cannot WABC joins us now I mean you and us Asian cultures very much put your head down don't make too much noise don't talk too much attention to yourself. These attacks are really putting Asians an uncomfortable position. Yeah and the questions and asked that why region for so many victims these days and I think there's been somewhat of a snowball effect as we're able to find one victim in convincing her speech. Another and another and another each of them felt like there were no longer alone and they've told me that they felt like there is speaking out for much larger. Purpose. Son I know that you were born and raised in the United States joined the US army raising to the brink of Sargent an anonymous dogged reporter on the street you don't appeared to be someone who would experience bias and discrimination and yet I happen to know better. Yes sure whether it's in my childhood or into the military and as a journalist right I've had an elementary school teachers make racial comments and on me drill sergeants make racial slurs about me and these are authority figures and that is a definition of institutionalized systemic racism. Sign up my mother's generation would never speak out but as younger people feel very differently. About that what are you seeing at least in the Asian community as you talk to people that's a thousand inquest and parents and community leaders that even within the Asian American households you have the second generation the children blaming their parents are being racially biased so this is. An incredibly uncomfortable conversation but these discussions are happening. Within these intimate Asian American households from discussing people at an all across America tonight. Thank you so much to find salmon Debbi ABC for your great reporting we really appreciate you and of course let's check in with you later on in the program.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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