By Amir Vera and Rob Frehse, CNN
Two Black girls have been charged with hate crimes after the New York City Police Department says they assaulted a White woman and made “anti-White” statements, according to a Tuesday news release from the NYPD.
The incident took place on July 9 around 6:50 p.m. on a southbound MTA bus in Queens when three girls and the victim, a 57-year-old White woman, got into a “verbal dispute,” an NYPD spokesperson said. One of the girls yelled, “I hate White people. I hate the way they talk,” according to CNN affiliate WCBS-TV.
The woman was hit in the head with an unknown object, the release said, causing a laceration and bleeding.
The three girls ran away and the woman was taken to a local hospital where she received three staples on her head, the release said.
NYPD released a photo of three Black teenagers wanted in connection with the incident and two of them — a 15 and 16-year-old — have been arrested and charged with hate crimes. Police are still searching for the third girl.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office will ultimately decide what charges the teenagers will face.
The charges against the girls come as hate crimes in New York City were reported to have increased by 76%, as of April, compared to the same period last year, according to data from the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force. To date, there have been 35 hate crimes committed against Black people in the city, 51 against Asians, 149 against Jewish people and only one recorded against a White person, according to the NYPD Hate Crimes Dashboard.
For the calendar year of 2021, there were 19 hate crimes committed against White people, the dashboard said.
Hate crimes are defined by the United States Department of Justice as crimes motivated by bias. The DOJ clarifies that “hate” doesn’t mean anger or dislike — but rather bias against people with specific characteristics like race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
The “crime” part is often violent, like an assault or murder. Property damage, threats to commit the crime, or even conspiring to commit the crime also qualify.
In New York City, a number of hate crimes have taken place recently — including an incident where a man punched an Asian woman more than 100 times earlier this month and another in which a woman allegedly made anti-Asian remarks and pepper-sprayed four people.
In recent years, those charged with hate crimes have included the gunman in the Buffalo shooting that left 10 Black people dead, the gunman in the Atlanta spa shooting that left eight people (six of whom were Asian women) dead and the gunman in the El Paso, Texas, shooting that left 22 dead in the mostly Latino city.
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CNN’s Laura Studley, Emma Tucker, Maria Morava and writer Saba Hamedy contributed to this report.