Amid a string of high-profile hate crimes in the city this month, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office has created a new task force to fight anti-gay violence.
The task force aims to facilitate the reporting of hate crimes against gays and lesbians with a new 24-hour hotline that hate crime victims can use to report incidents that they may not feel comfortable reporting to police.
“Often, biased crime victims are hesitant to come forward and report crimes against them. It is a scary and traumatic experience for them. They may not want to call 911 or walk into their local precinct,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said at a press conference announcing the task force.
In addition, members of the gay and lesbian community can call the hotline to access services, such as connecting with social workers.
"Acts of violence against the LGBT community living and working in Brooklyn are not going to be tolerated," Hynes said. "They never have been tolerated by this office. It is not open season on members of that community.”
Denise Sandy, the mother of Michael Sandy, a gay man who died after being mugged and chased into traffic in 2006 hopes the hotline will encourage victims to seek help and “that they'll have a place to go to without having fear -- they’ll know that they'll be supported,” she said.
The Brooklyn DA's office is also holding a town hall meeting next month to get feedback from members of Brooklyn's gay community about safety concerns.