New York Times
He was charged with an anti-Asian attack. It was his 33rd arrest.
New York — Chinese-American bus driver in New York City, Tommy Lau, was walking during a lunch break in Brooklyn last month when he noticed a man harassing an elderly couple in Asia. .. Lau (63) stepped in front of the man and asked what he was doing. According to prosecutors, the man Donovan Lawson spit on Lau, hit his face and called him an anti-Chinese slur. Lawson, a black man, was arrested and charged with hate crimes. Lawson, 26, a homeless and mentally ill person, was arrested for the 33rd time, officials said. Four times, police were called in to assist him because he appeared to be on the verge of mental weakness, and he was monitored for treatment in a police-run mental health program. Sign up for the morning newsletter from The New York Times He’s not unique. Many of the people recently charged with anti-Asian attacks in New York City also have a history of mental health episodes, multiple arrests, and homelessness, complicating the city’s investigation into an effective response. I will. This pattern reveals a gap in the criminal justice system’s ability to effectively respond when racial prejudice overlaps with mental illness, even as the city strengthens its enforcement efforts against these crimes. For example, Lawson was one of at least seven people arrested after attacking Asian urban dwellers in the last two weeks of March, and a Filipino woman repeatedly kicked by a police man in the middle of the day in Manhattan. It ended with a terrifying attack on. He was released on parole at homeless after being sentenced to imprisonment for murdering his mother. Of the seven arrested, five had previously encountered police and were considered “emotionally confused” during that time. Investigators believed that the other two also had signs of mental illness. According to officials, the arrested people are part of a group of mentally unstable people who enter and leave prisons on minor charges and often do not pay the necessary psychiatric attention. Many also suffer from drug addiction. “We have always been arrested before these tragic and tragic incidents, so we need to deal with this mental illness,” New York Police Department commissioner Dermot F. Sia said in a television interview on Friday. So far, police have received at least 35 anti-Asia hate crime reports in New York this year, already higher than last year’s 28 and far more than the three reported in 2019, police said. It exceeds. Attacks on Asian Americans began to increase nationwide as the pandemic intensified last year and former President Donald Trump used racist slurs to blame China for the catastrophe. Law enforcement officials provide ammunition to those who scapegoat Asian Americans, saying Trump’s rhetoric spread the virus, exacerbated racial tensions, and spurred unprovoked attacks and harassment. Said he did. At the same time, the pandemic has put a strain on the criminal justice system, which has long struggled to provide treatment to people with mental illness who violate the law. Social welfare has reduced face-to-face meetings. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed. The number of single homeless adults has reached record levels. “People’s fuses were much shorter,” said Karen Friedman Agniphilo, a former senior official at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. “If you’re a hateful and angry person, it didn’t take long to offend you.” Hate crimes in New York generally tend to increase after a split news event. Yes, such prosecution experts said most of them resulted from momentary conflicts. For example, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Muslim Americans were targeted. Anti-Semitic attacks increased after the rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. State prison officials said privacy law failed to disclose information about the health history of Brandon Elliott, a man arrested in connection with a brutal March 29 attack on a Filipino woman in Manhattan. It was. However, according to law enforcement officers, police were called in to assist Elliott in a mental health episode in 2002, months before Elliott stabbed and killed his mother in front of his five-year-old sister. It was. After the black man Elliott was released on parole, a question was raised as to whether he was properly supervised. According to police, 38-year-old Elliott lived in a hotel in Midtown, Manhattan, which functions as a homeless haven. Others said his behavior was sometimes unstable. Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that Elliott’s case highlighted the issue of pervasiveness. The state freed people from prisons into cities, “no plans, no housing, no jobs, no mental health support,” he said. In a statement, the New York State Corrections Bureau said that everyone released from prison had individualized treatment and rehabilitation plans, and the mayor was “clearly unaware.” Elliott’s representative Legal Assistance Association urged the public to “hold the decision until all facts have been submitted to court.” In the short term, the city is taking stronger steps in response to the rise in anti-Asia attacks. Police dispatched masked plainclothes police officers to populated areas of Asia, urging more casualties to come forward. However, according to criminologists, it is also important to confront the role of mental illness in such crimes, and the city has strong safety for individuals who frequently come into contact with law enforcement and mental health professionals. There is no net. “The system is so broken that someone can be handcuffed to the hospital and back on the street in a matter of hours,” said Kevin of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.・ Professor Nadal said. De Blasio said only a few people with mental illness would commit violence, and that the city was actively following up both people with a recorded history. Catherine L. Bajuk, a mental health lawyer specialist at New York County Defender Services, found that people with mental illness are less likely to commit crimes and more likely to be victims than others. I am. The unstable history of some of the people arrested in the recent anti-Asian incident provided little comfort to the victims. In an interview, Brooklyn bus driver Lau said he believed that the punch he received from Lawson was rooted in the “collapse of mental health problems.” Still, his Slur Lawson pattern of racism he experienced since childhood when his elementary school teacher called Tommy instead of his name to prevent his classmates from making fun of him. I said it was suitable for me. “That’s when you’re Asian and you’re constantly being harassed by others,” Lau said. “The pandemic made it worse.” Lawson’s sister, Regina Lawson, showed signs of mental illness at an early age and treated until her mother was too old to force him to go. Said that he received. The brothers are now estranged. “There may be better ways to deal with someone than waiting for a felony or hurting someone for help,” Regina Lawson said. The mental illness problem of homeless people like Donovan Lawson was exacerbated during the pandemic as the city moved thousands of people from shelters to hotel rooms to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Said the provider. This move has isolated some people with mental illness and led to inadequate supervision. Eric Deolibeira, a 27-year-old homeless man charged with a recent anti-Asian hate crime, has undergone 13 emotional disability calls and at least 12 arrests, police said. On March 21, police said Hispanic Deoliveira beat a Chinese-American mother in Manhattan and broke the sign she had after the rally to protest anti-Asian violence. Deolibeira, who was released on suspicion of assault, was arrested again in Queens on Saturday night and charged with breaking the windshield of a police car, prosecutors said. Deoliveira’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Mental health may already be a legal issue. Last month, a judge ordered a mental health assessment of Radie Rodriguez, 26, who was arrested and accused of hitting an Asian man behind his head while speaking anti-Chinese taunts in Manhattan. It was. The prosecution said he told investigators after the arrest of a black Hispanic Rodriguez: I don’t like Asians. I get involved in a dispute with them. He is also said to have told police officers, “When I get out of here, I’m going to kill all Asians.” According to court records, during Rodriguez’s indictment, he frequently suspended the proceedings and denied the allegations. Prosecutors said they were arrested in January after breaking a glass door in a homeless shelter in Manhattan and threatening to kill the site’s coordinator. Rodriguez’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company