New York to Establish Special Unit to Tackle Escalating Hate Crimes

Post-election atmosphere in the United States is a 'social crisis that challenges our very identity,' says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Spray painted anti-transgender graffiti on the car of Amber Timmons, a transgender woman, in Denver, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.
Ashley Dean / via AP

A new unit will be established in New York to tackle the escalation of hate crimes across the state, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday, according to a report on the DNA Info website.

"Today I'm 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 all across the state," Cuomo, said during an address to the Abyssianian Baptist Church in Harlem.

He added that the unit will investigate "the major [hate crimes,] the minor ones and the infractions. And we will prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, the perpetrators of any of this ugliness and divisiveness."

In New York City alone, hate crimes have increased by 30 percent in 2016, according to the New York Police Department, as well as increasing in other parts of the state, Cuomo said.

The governor added that the "ugly political discourse" of the presidential election had "gotten worse in many ways." He described the current situation as a "social crisis that challenges our very identity, as a state and as a nation and as a people."

In addition to the new police unit, the state will also establish a public-private legal defense fund for immigrants and will propose a new human rights law to protect school children.

A Brooklyn playground named after Adam Yauch, the Jewish founder of the Beastie Boys rap band, was defaced with a swastika and the words "Go Trump" over the weekend, according to Park Slope City Councilman Brad Lander.