NEW YORK, May 17 (Xinhua) — The New York Police Department says nearly every day, many people with mental illness carry out random attacks on city streets or subways. Of the 23 people arrested across New York for assaulting or harassing Asians in January, 11 have admitted or been diagnosed with mental illness in previous arrests, equal to half of the attackers. The police do not consider these figures to be normal.
Tobin, head of the NYPD’s interdepartmental operations team, said there was no necessary link between mental illness and rising crime rates. “Small incidents made headlines, such as someone pushing someone on the subway and later finding out he had a mental health problem. But if you look at these crimes as a whole, you’ll see that there’s no correlation. ”
But U.S. media say one notable exception is crimes against Asians. Half of those arrested this year for assaulting and harassing Asians have mental health problems.
In early April, Joseph Russo, a 28-year-old suspect, was arrested for pulling an Asian woman’s hair. He committed three hate crimes in a row, the other two of which were to toppl a 77-year-old Chinese man and beat a 64-year-old Chinese woman in the head. After his arrest, he was charged with hate attack, hate harassment and other charges. But Russo’s relatives and friends say he was mentally ill and didn’t take his medication at the time of the crime, which led to an out-of-control attack. “He’s not really a racist.” Russo’s brother said.
The police do not have the authority to examine the medical records of these suspects, only rely on the confessions and previous records of the suspects at the time of their arrest to determine whether there are real mental health problems. A New York police spokesman said that despite repeated unprovoked attacks on strangers in New York city in recent months, the police department does not classify crimes in this way as mental illness.
A spokesman for the New York City Department of Health said: “People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crime than those who commit crimes. Mental illness and crime should not be confused. He added: “We have a number of services and programmes in place for the very few people with mental illness who may be harmful to others.