Organization increases witness response training following anti-AAPI attacks

A San Francisco nonprofit held an online spectator training session on Tuesday. The nationwide upsurge in harassment and attacks against Asian Americans has raised questions about what viewers should do if they see an attack happening.

New York City Police released a video on Tuesday in which passers-by watch a man kick a 65-year-old Asian woman in the chest, then kick her three times in the head when she falls on the ground. The men inside a luxury apartment building in Midtown Manhattan watch and one appears to close the front door as the assailant walks away, leaving the woman seriously injured.

Police said the man was making anti-Asian statements.

“This poor woman walking down the street was kicked and brutalized. It was just terrible,” said Aarti Kohli, executive director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus.

She and many people across the country were shocked not only by the assailant, but also by passers-by who watched and did not seem to help. The woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Passers-by have been suspended by the owners of the building and the suspect has still not been arrested.

“I was appalled that the building security guards practically closed the door and failed to verify the welfare of this woman,” Kohli said.

“It was heartbreaking and honestly it made me angry,” said Jorge Arteaga, deputy director of Hollaback, a non-profit organization that runs spectator training workshops. On Tuesday evening, Hollaback joined the Asian Law Caucus. They discussed five ways witnesses can help victims of harassment or violence.

“What we saw was a classic spectator effect which is basically, why should I be the first person to do something if there are other people watching and no one else is doing something.” , said Hollaback deputy director Jorge Arteaga.

They call it the five-D strategy, asking people to try to do at least one of the actions: distract the attacker and distract from the target, delegate tasks to people in the crowd, document the attack. , delay – or wait to check on the victim, and finally as a last resort, Direct confrontation.

“You don’t have to be a superhero to practice spectator intervention,” Arteaga said. Nonprofits say they have seen a huge increase in the number of people wanting to help.

“We had, I say 40,000 people signed up for our trainings within 4 to 5 days,” said Arteaga.

We all have to take this as a responsibility as a community, as a society, ”Kohli said,“ It’s not an Asian-American problem. It is an American problem.

Registration for Hollaback Bystander training.

Jana Katsuyama is a journalist for KTVU. Email Jana at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.