A northern California district attorney announced Monday that a new special response unit was created in the wake of recent attacks against Asians, particularly elderly Asians, in Oakland’s Chinatown, as activists have argued that other violence in San Francisco and New York shows a pattern of abuse related to blame placed on the Asian American community for the coronavirus pandemic.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced the inception of a special task force, saying during a news conference in Oakland’s Chinatown Monday that the “rapid increase in criminal acts targeted against members of the Asian community, particularly Chinese Americans, who live and work in Alameda County, is intolerable.”
“It’s not unique to Chinatown or to the Asian community the increase in crime we’ve seen across the city and across the county, but we have seen in the last several weeks and month a very specific increase in crimes committed against Asians,” O’Malley said. “To still be calling it ‘Chinese virus,’ things like that, that fuels hate and fuels aggression and that hate and aggression results in many times – sometimes it’s words – but a lot of times it’s through committing assault or other types of crimes.”
The Oakland Police Department has reallocated resources and is stepping up patrols ahead of the Lunar New Year this coming Friday.
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly described the coronavirus or COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” a reference to its outbreak from Wuhan, China. Just six days after taking office, President Biden issued a memorandum condemning “inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric” that has put Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons, families, communities and businesses at risk during the pandemic.