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Unclear if spike in bias cases related to Trump victory, NYPD says

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and NYPD Commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, right, hold a press conference discussing plans for new security and traffic restrictions around Donald Trump's headquarters at Trump Tower, Friday Nov. 18, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Credit: AP

Bias incidents in New York City increased 400 percent in the two weeks since Donald Trump won the presidential election compared to the same time period in 2015, the NYPD said Tuesday. But police officials stopped short of saying Trump’s victory — coming after many in the controversial alt-right community supported his campaign — had anything to do with what they admit is a troubling trend.

Since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, police have logged a total of 30 bias complaints compared to six in the same two weeks a year ago, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters Tuesday. So far in 2016, police have recorded 345 incidents compared with 253 in 2015, an increase of 36.3 percent.

O’Neill noted that the increase was large but graffiti, rather than violence, contributed to much of the spike.

“We are up considerably,” O’Neill said about the postelection bias-incident spike, “But most of those are anti-Semitic and nonviolent crimes.”

Last week, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that over half of the postelection incidents were anti-Semitic in that they involved the drawing of swastikas. Asked if he thought Trump’s election had emboldened the anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim incidents, Boyce said he didn’t believe so.

Trump’s campaign backers included many in the alt-right movement — often associated with far-right efforts to preserve “white identity” and oppose multiculturalism.

Tuesday, Boyce called the spike in incidents a “serious uptick,” noting that he has seen a “curious increase in anti-white cases.”

In a Nov. 8 anti-white bias incident in Manhattan, a 61-year-old man and his wife were approached by two black men who called the couple a racial epithet, struck the man and pushed his wife to the ground, the NYPD said.

The largest number of incidents clustered in Brooklyn where from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18, swastikas were found painted at various places, including the stairwell of a Williamsburg housing area with a large number of Jewish residents. The swastikas, painted in red, were reportedly accompanied by the scrawled words “Trump” and “KKK.”

Another bias incident occurred in Queens on Nov. 19 when a boy and girl, both 17 years-old, were attacked by a knife-wielding suspect who made anti-Muslim statements during the attack, according to investigators.

In response, the Council on Islamic-American Relations in New York condemned the attack, with executive director Afaf Nasher saying it was an example of “the hundreds of racist and Islamophobic incidents reported since the November 8 election.”

Of the 345 incidents in the city this year, there were 120 classified as anti-Semitic, 101 centered on sexual orientation and 27 involved anti-Muslim sentiments, according to police. The remaining incidents were not classified in the police data.


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