Proposed New York Law Seeks to Mitigate Hate Crime Backlash

March 9, 2006

Source: SALDEF/Queens Chronicle

On March 9, 2006 the Queens Chronicle reported, "A proposed city law designed to mitigate hate crime backlash experienced some backlash of its own when the idea was belittled on the editorial pages of the Daily News last week. The new law, proposed by Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), seeks to reduce hate crimes by developing a plan to protect groups that could be targeted after a major disaster. The Daily News’ portrayal of Weprin’s plan, which launched an angered response from advocacy groups, read like a scene straight out of a Batman comic book, speculating 'agents of the Bureau of Backlash Mitigation Services or something, watching the skies for the Backlash Mitigation Signal, ready to get out there and mitigate backlash wherever and whenever it is espied.' The proposed bill lacks specific measures, but would amend the City Charter to force the Office of Emergency Management and the New York Police Department to coordinate the plan with the mayor and affected community groups. 'My introduction of this bill was meant to build up the city’s arsenal against the hate violence that can tear communities apart,' Weprin said in a written statement, adding, 'The idea is that the prevalence of backlash hate crime has formed a predictable pattern that can be stopped with effective planning.' In the months following 9/11, hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims or perceived Muslims vastly increased nationwide. In New York City, incidents of hate crimes�which averaged seven per year�spiked to over 100 in the months following the attacks."