OAKLAND (CBS SF) — On the heels of a public campaign encouraging victims of hate crimes to come forward and report them, the FBI on Thursday focused efforts in Oakland.
FBI officials joined forces with the community’s Chinatown leaders, one of whom was the victim of a racially motivated attack just two weeks ago.READ MORE: Thick Fog Bank Blankets San Francisco, North Bay Valleys
When Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce President Carl Chan was recently assaulted, he didn’t hesitate to snap a photo of the assailant with his cell phone and report the hate crime to police.
With that evidence, his attacker was arrested a short time later and charged with assault.
Thursday’s news conference with the FBI aimed to drive home the message that it is safe to say something.
The whole issue is about encouraging people to report crime, because we understand many Asian victims of crime, they are so afraid, said Chan. So we want to let them know, it’s time for them to speak up and make those changes.
With hate crimes against Asians on the rise, the FBI’s San Francisco office says investigating them is a top priority.READ MORE: UPDATE: Suspect In Attempted Armed Carjacking Killed In Shootout With San Jose Police
“No one should be afraid to walk down the street or feel that they could be targeted by an act of violence based on how they look, where they’re from or any part of their identity,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair. “Acts of hate and racism have no place here.”
Standing in front of volunteers who currently patrol Oakland’s Chinatown,
Special Agent Fair said he wanted to reassure the Asian community that reporting crime is critical to putting a stop to it.
“We know that some people are afraid to come forth. They may have a fear or distrust of law enforcement,” said Fair. “They may have fear due to their immigration status Or fear of retribution by their attacker.”
He says the FBI is training more agents to investigate hate crimes at the federal level. The agency is also working closely with local law enforcement in order to file state charges.
“We will not stand by and let people be attacked on our streets,” said Fair.MORE NEWS: Marin Brewing Company Shutting Down After 3 Decades Due To Pandemic Struggles
On Saturday at 11 a.m., Oakland’s Chinatown will host a “Unity Against Hate” rally with State Attorney General Rob Bonta in attendance.