News Ticker

CE Latimer & DA Rocah Launch #SpeakUpWestchester Campaign; Rocah Launches New Hotline

White Plains, NY – With hate crimes on the rise in the region and bias incidents occurring in local communities, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Westchester District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah are urging Westchester County residents to speak up.  The two are together launching the #SpeakUpWestchester campaign, and encouraging those who are the victim or witness a hate crime, bias or hate incident to report it. To encourage more reporting the Westchester County Human Rights Commission has launched a new webpage to report incidents of bias hate or discrimination anonymously (or with your contact information) at www.westchestergov.com/biasreporting

“Westchester County takes all incidents of violence and hate seriously. We condemn any act that targets a person or group of people because of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or other protected category. Recently, Asian Americans have been targeted around the country- and it must stop,” CE Latimer shares with Black Westchester.

DA Rocah also announced a new multilingual hotline, 914-995-TIPS (914-995-8477), for the public to report hate crimes, bias incidents, victimization of immigrants, elder abuse, wage theft and other labor-related violations, law enforcement misconduct, public corruption and other potential criminal matters.

“If you have an emergency or you need immediate assistance, you should call 911 or your local police department. However, our new hotline is another option to let investigators know if you have been a victim of a crime, witnessed a crime, or have a tip about investigating a crime,” Rocah said. “The hotline is available 24/7 in English, Spanish and Mandarin and will automatically notify us whenever calls come in.”

The hotline, 914-995-TIPS (914-995-8477), is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Callers can choose English, Spanish or Mandarin – with additional languages to be added in the coming weeks – and will use an automated menu to specify the area of their complaints. They will then be directed to voicemail boxes to leave information.

“Hate crimes and bias incidents impact all of us, because they create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that keeps us from feeling safe and secure in our homes and communities,” Rocah shares with Black Westchester. “The District Attorney’s office is committed to working in close coordination with law enforcement, the County Human Rights Commission and community groups to fight hate and bias in Westchester. Reporting hate crimes and bias incidents helps us in that fight, and our new hotline is another way to let us know quickly and easily if you have been a victim of a crime or have witnessed a crime.”

Experienced coordinators have been designated for each hotline area. The coordinators will be automatically notified whenever a voicemail message is received and a member of the DA’s investigative team will follow up on all tips and complaints received.

The DA’s Office has also launched the first in a series of promotional videos to promote the hotlines on social media and on-line.

The immigration affairs hotline calls will be handled by Immigration Affairs Coordinator Saad Siddiqui, who joined the DA’s Office last week. He brings to this newly-created position a wide range of legal experience as a defense attorney and administrator dealing with immigration, criminal justice, civil rights, housing, child welfare, juvenile delinquency and other issues.

Most recently, Mr. Siddiqui was Senior Assistant County Attorney at the Westchester County Department of Law. Previously, he had his own law practice and was also the Fair Housing Director for the Westchester County Human Rights Commission and an Associate Counsel with the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County.

He serves on the boards of a number of community organizations including the Lower Hudson Valley Civil Liberties Union, Community Resource Center and Fair Housing Justice Center. He is a graduate of Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law and the University of Rochester.

Other hotline calls will be routed to Assistant District Attorneys as follows:

Hate crimes and bias incidents             Catalina Blanco Buitrago

Elder abuse                                             Christine Hatfield

Wage theft & labor violations                Emily Rowe-Smith

Law enforcement misconduct                Jennifer Sculco

Public corruption                                  Brian Weinberg

The public can also leave a tip or report a potential criminal matter at any time by using the DA’s Office on-line complaint form. Go to www.westchesterda.net and click on Complaints for complete instructions.

While hate incidents do not always violate the law, they should always be reported by those targeted and bystanders.

  • If you need emergency assistance call 911
  • If you were the victim of a violent attack, call your local police department.
  • If you were the victim of an incident of bias, hate or discrimination, call the Westchester County Human Rights Commission (914) 995-7710 or email at HumanRights@westchestergov.com.  
  • If you are a victim or witnesses of a hate crime or bias incident call (914) 995-TIPS or visit www.WestchesterDA.net

Latimer said: “We applaud the leadership of the District Attorney of this important topic.  Westchester County is a striking tapestry of people from all different walks-of-life, who hold different values, who love different people and who have ancestors from different countries – we must never forget that these differences are what make us the Westchester we call home.”

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About Black Westchester (976 Articles)
Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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