New York's First Lady advises you to intervene directly if you see a hate crime—not to first call the police

New York's First Lady Chirlane McCray wrote a post on Twitter telling New Yorkers just what they should do if the witness a hate crime—and it doesn't involve calling the police.


New York's First Lady Chirlane McCray wrote a post on Twitter telling New Yorkers just what they should do if the witness a hate crime—and it doesn't involve calling the police. Instead, she advised onlookers to take matters into their own hands.

McCray wrote: "As attacks on Asian American communities continue, we're asking New Yorkers to show up for their neighbors and intervene when witnessing hateful violence or harassment."

She offered New Yorkers the "5 D's" instead of 911, which would summon police, an organization she has advocated to defund. "D is for Distract," she wrote, "Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct." She explained what she meant.

"Distract. Take attention away from the person causing harm, the hate crime or incident survivor, or situation itself. Just try interrupting it. Ignore the harasser and engage directly with the person who is being targeted by asking a question like, 'What time is it?'" It is unclear how engaging with the victim of the crime would lead to the stoppage of the crime in progress.

She then moved on to the instruction to "delegate," by which she seems to mena take charge and deputize other bystanders to help you stop crime. "Delegate: Scan a situation to assess risk and determine how to best intervene, and delegate tasks.?? Take a look  at your surroundings. If you can, find someone in a position of authority, tell them about the situation and ask if they can help."

"Document," McCray explains, "Support a person in crisis by recording on your phone or writing notes, but please don’t share a video without the consent of the person being harmed.? Say the date and time, and show the location if you can. Most importantly, keep a safe distance!"

"Delay: Check in with the survivor after the incident. This shows them that they are valued. This is a great way to support your neighbor if you aren’t feeling confident in the moment. Ask how they're doing, if they need support or if you can help them file a report."

And finally, she wrote: "Direct: Respond directly to the aggressor or physically intervene and only after assessing the situation. Be confident, assertive, calm. This is risky, but sometimes all we can do is speak up. If the harasser responds, try your best to focus on assisting the person targeted."

This led a member of the New York Post Editorial Board, Michael Benjamin, to write: "Simply put "call the police."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City's public transit system, tells straphangers to not "try to handle it on your own" if a hate crime is witnessed. "The situation could escalate."

The NYPD agrees with the assessment. "A person reports a hate crime in the same manner as they would report any other crime. If it is a serious crime in progress, call 911," the department says on their website.

A man who intervened in a crime in Brooklyn on Wednesday was killed during his intervention. 46-year-old Yong Zheng, witnessing a fellow Asian-American get robbed, attempted to intervene in the robbery, during which he was stabbed to death. Another man who intervened, a local Uber driver, was hospitalized after being stabbed during the incident.


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