Jessica Corey files a $1 million defamation lawsuit

The former head of the NYPD’s Hate Crime Bureau filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city on Friday, saying she was “slandered” by Mayor Eric Adams and for making false claims that she didn’t take a report from an Asian , an American seriously fired from her job, The Post has learned.

Inspector Jessica Corey, a 30-year-old department veteran, says her encounter with Esther Lee, who was spat on on a subway train and called a “carrier” last October, was mischaracterized and unfairly criticized by Adams in a television interview.

“[Corey] received and listened to Ms. Lee’s concerns with the utmost sensitivity,” the complaint reads.

The attack on Lee came at a time when hate attacks against Asian Americans were reaching record levels.

But she told ABC that when she reported the incident, a detective accused her of exaggeration and an unsympathetic Corey told her she shouldn’t have taken the suspect in and that the altercation wasn’t a hate crime.

Jessica Corey.
Jessica Corey is a 30-year-old department veteran

During a sit-down interview with Adams that aired partially on February 16, an ABC reporter confronted Hizzoner about Lee’s allegations.

“This is the first time anyone has come to me with a concern,” Adams told the reporter after hearing Lee’s story.

“I don’t want a leader in this space to start saying why something isn’t a possible hate crime. It would be troubling for me to see if anyone is not clear on the direction I should take my hate crimes unit. I don’t know what the criteria were under other governments, but we have a new day and we will start a new path.”

On the same day, the NYPD confirmed the 58-year-old had been reassigned to a different unit but said it was not of a disciplinary nature.

Corey alleges Lee inaccurately characterized what happened, saying Adam’s comments were “defamatory” and “defamatory” and made with reckless disregard for the truth.

After Corey learned the facts of the case, she patiently “explained” why the attack did not meet the definition of a hate crime, her filing says.

Eric Adams.
“This is the first time anyone has come to me with a concern,” Mayor Eric Adams said.
Stephen Yang

“The same day, Ms. Lee texted to [Corey] to thank [her] for “taking the time to look into this” and “explaining things to me,” the lawsuit says.

Lee also told Corey that her efforts were “so much appreciated,” the documents said.

Corey alleges that she consulted with the NYPD’s Legal Bureau and the Manhattan Attorney’s Office, and while Lee was named a “carrier, the facts of the case did not comply with current hate crime statutes,” the lawsuit states.

In general, hate attacks can be difficult to prove unless a suspect makes a bigoted remark during the incident or admits to police that they have biased views against the victim.

In the ABC appearance, Adams admitted it was the first time he had heard Lee’s story, and Corey’s attorneys claim he made no effort to corroborate Lee’s story before making the defamatory remarks, according to the records.

“[Adams] acted in total disregard for evidence and information readily available that contradicted and showed Ms. Lee’s version of events [Corey] handled Ms. Lee’s complaint properly and professionally,” Corey’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

Corey also claims she was defamed again on May 3 when City Council Member Julie Won said during a virtual meeting for the Public Safety Committee that there was “anecdotal evidence” Corey “rejected Asian hate crimes when they were reported.”

“Can you please help me understand why, despite the outcry from Asian Americans who have said they have reported or attempted to report hate crimes, no disciplinary action has been taken and they have been fired, ridiculed or laughed at,” Won said during the hearing and directed her question to members of the NYPD.

Corey claims these statements are also untrue and that she in turn has suffered “significant and irreparable damage” to her personal and professional reputation.

“Jessica Corey has had a distinguished, unchallengeable career serving New Yorkers with the NYPD. She has received widespread praise for her interactions with members of the public, including members of the AAPI community,” Corey’s attorney, Edward Paltzik, told The Post.

“Unfortunately, her reputation has been smeared through a distortion of the entirely appropriate way she has dealt with an alleged hate crime.”

City Hall, Won and the NYPD did not respond to a request for comment. Jessica Corey files a $1 million defamation lawsuit


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