SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting held a press conference Friday morning in San Francisco's Chinatown to announce a new bill he is proposing to address the rise in hate crimes.
Ting says he was surprised to find out that California does not require law enforcement agencies to have a uniform hate crimes policy. He wants to see consistent enforcement of hate crime laws and reporting of hate crimes when officers are filing their report.
"A 2018 audit found that law enforcement agencies oftentimes inadequately identified or reported or responded to hate crimes and that the finding concluded that the state's hate crimes are underreported by 14%. It's not the fault of law enforcement agencies because there really was not proper training or proper protocol and that is what our bill is addressing. Our bill is working with the state agency in charge of training law enforcement and making sure they know how to respond and to report this very important data. And we believe that by working together with our community groups that this will be one of many things we can do to stop AAPI hate," Ting said.
RELATED: California hate crimes surged 31% in 2020 with Black community remaining most targeted, report shows
He says if officers properly classify hate crimes, then hate crime laws that are on the books can be applied.
"Let's say in a case where a senior got violently accosted. Obviously there is the violence but we have laws on the books that do enhancements for hate crimes. So if you don't identify the case as a hate crime, it just gets treated as a regular incident. If you treat it as a hate crime, we identify it as a problem. So you collect that data. We have certain crimes that are treated differently if they are due to hate and that's why it is so important to have that enhancement," Ting explained.
He says he was motivated by the rise in hate crimes against Asians during the pandemic, but that this would apply to hate crimes against all races, religions, gender, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.
Hearings on the bill will likely start in March.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live