In The News
News from around the Country
Seattle, WA – July 2009: Prosecutors have filed hate crime charges against a man accused of verbally attacking and kicking a man of Vietnamese descent as he slept in a parking lot. According to police, Robert Thomas Wise continued ranting and threatening the Vietnamese, saying he would kill immigrants upon his release, after police arrived on scene. Wise has not entered a plea and is being held on $100,000 bail on the charge of malicious harassment. (SOURCE: blog.seattlepi.com)
San Diego, CA – July 2009: A man accused in a series of San Diego home-invasion robberies and sexual assaults committed suicide in his jail cell. Thomas James Parker, 39, was found dead after being arrested during a failed attack. Parker was linked through evidence to a string of home-invasions and sexual assaults, which primarily targeted Asian women. Parker owned It’s a Grind Coffee House in Little Italy. (SOURCE: signonsandiego.com)
San Francisco, California – June 2009: A Southern California man convicted of murdering three people in 2006 has been sentenced to a term of 200 years to life in prison. 27-year-old Joseph Melcher shot to death a young man when he was leaving his girlfriend’s house in August 2006. Melcher was also convicted of shooting to death an waitress working at a bar in Japantown and a young man walking through the Peace Plaza as Melcher left the scene. Prosecutors argued that the crimes were racially motivated, as all three victims were of Asian descent. While these crimes were not ruled as hate crimes, Melcher was convicted of nine felony counts of murder, attempted murder and assault. (SOURCE: sfgate.com)
Flushing, New York – June 2009: Two teenagers were arraigned in the strangling of a sleeping man. Chris Levy, 17, and Cory Azor, 16, were held without bail in the strangling of 49-year-old David Kao, a marketing executive for The World Journal, a Chinese-language newspaper. A third suspect, Keron Wilthshire, 17, was charged with possession of stolen property, Kao’s Lexus S.U.V. The suspects ambushed Kao while he was asleep in his car, choking him and stealing his cash and car. The three were also charged in the May 27 robbery in which they robbed a 42-year-old man at gunpoint. (SOURCE: www.nytimes.com)
Yorktown, VA – June 2009: Two more people have been arrested in connection with an assault in May 2009 linked to a Ku Klux Klan affiliated gang. A total of five people have been arrested in a mob beating at the Yorkton waterfront, in which the group made anti-gay and anti-Asian slurs and references to the “311,” which is believed to be a code for the KKK. One of the victims was pinned to the ground, hit, and kicked in the head and body. Preliminary hearings for this arrest were scheduled for July 13. (SOURCE: www.dailypress.com)
West Whiteland Township, PA – May 2009: An act of vandalism is being considered as an act of racial intimidation after the cars of a biracial family were spray painted with racial slurs. The mother of the teenager, who is half Asian Indian, found all three family cars spray painted with slurs including “911” and “pig.” Police are urging anyone with information to come forward. When apprehended, the person or persons in charge will be charged with criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation. (SOURCE:WPVI-TV/DT)
Boulder, CO – May 2009: Three Boulder middle-school students are suspected of harassment and a bias-motivated crime for calling a 12-year-old girl and threatened to rape and kill her because she is Asian American. The students, two who are 13 and one who is 10, have been arrested. The boys allegedly called the girl on her cell phone and used explicit and violent language in their threats. The boys called back and left two messages after she hung up. The girl’s parents reported the incident to the police the next day. The students are being processed through a juvenile detention center. (SOURCE: the denverchannel.com)
Binghamton, NY – April 2009: A student assembly meeting ended in physical contact and racial slurs on Binghamton University. Three Assembly members and two Student Association executive board members entered into an argument outside the meeting room where anti-Asian and anti-White slurs were exchanged over the election for next year’s Assembly chair. Student protest activities were initiated when the administration did not respond to this altercation. (SOURCE: apaforprogress.org)
Lancaster, PA – April 2009: Three Asian Americans students from Franklin and Marshall College were confronted with racial slurs and physically attacked near campus. The alleged perpetrators were a part of a larger group of young people who also appear to be students at Franklin and Marshall College. While Public Safety officers were able to end the incident, they have referred the case to the Lancaster Bureau of Police, who began a criminal investigation. Franklin and Marshall College also launched their own investigation through their student judicial process. (SOURCE: WGAL.com)
Santa Barbara, CA – April 2009: Police are investigating a University of California-Santa Barbara fraternity after an Asian American student and his friendly were violently attacked. The two victims were walking past the Pi Kappa Alpha house when a group of individuals standing on the patio of the house starting making racial slurs at one of the victims. The verbal assault turned into a physical assault, and it was only when some of the aggressors stopped the attack because they began laughing. Foot patrol officers arrived on the scene and the victims sought medical treatment. Pi Kappa Alpha Public Relations Chair said that the house is cooperating with authorities to resolve this issue.
Omaha, NE – April 2009: A small business owner whose store was vandalized a week earlier received additional threats from one of the alleged perpetrators who returned to the store to demand a protection fee. In early April, six ethnic businesses were the targets of extortion when four unidentified white teenagers entered their shops and demanded a protection fee of seventy-five dollars. Days after the initial contact, four of the six businesses who refused to pay the protection fee had bricks thrown at their store fronts, shattering their windows. The businesses that were targeted include a nail salon, a Korean market, a Mediterranean shop, a Chinese restaurant, and an Indian store. Police are still investigating this case and have yet to classify this as extortion or a hate crime. SOURCE: Action 3 News
Philadelphia, PA – March 2009: Asian and Asian American business owners and community leaders in the area have been left shaken after a spree of 14 home invasion attacks, including three murders of Asian American business owners, since late 2008. Police say that the victims were targeted because of their ethnicity and the stereotype that Asian business owners are docile and often keep their money at home or in their business. Community groups have teamed up with area police to hold meetings that warn Asian and Asian Americans about the recent spate of crimes and provide safety tips. Police have made arrests in all but one case. SOURCE: MSNBC.com
San Diego, CA – March 2009: San Diego police believe that a sex predator may be responsible for as many as five incidents involving Asian women. Victims were attacked near or inside their home during the day and the physical description given by all five incidents were consistent. Police are urging women to be extra diligent in the area.
Cambridge, MA – March 2009: Racist messages were found at a graffiti-themed party held by Harvard’s Chinese Students Association. Attendees at the party were encouraged to write messages on paper with glow-in-the-dark markers to post on the walls. Members of the Chinese Students Association found messages such as “Chinese people perform genocide” and “Chinese people suck” after the party was over. The group has reached out to the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations to create a forum for discussing this issue and the Dartmouth email incident that happened earlier in the month. With hundreds of individuals who attended the party, the group has voiced their concern that they may never find the student or students responsible for the messages.
Mountain View, CA – February 2009: Four East Palo Alto residents are suspected of committing a hate crime and has been arrested for attacking four victims leaving a bar early morning on February 21. The suspects verbally harassed the victims, who were speaking Hindi, and used racially charged comments about their ethnicity and their language. A female suspect started attacking a female victim and when the victim’s husband intervened, other suspects pulled the husband away and began kicking and punching him. Two other victims attempted to intervene but were also hurt. The victims were able to obtain the license plate number of one car. Police were also able to arrest two suspects at a nearby hospital. The investigation as a hate crime is currently listed as ongoing. SOURCE: Bay City News / Local CBS 5
Palo Alto, CA – February 2009: A man is charged with a hate crime after he reportedly assaulted an East Indian man at a Palo Alto gas station. Miguel Luis Carlson hurled racial epithets at the victim and pulled the man in a choke hold after a verbal altercation. Witnesses say that it was an unprovoked attack. Carlson pleaded not guilty in court on February 11, 2009. SOURCE: The Mercury News
Tacoma, WA – February 2009: A Seattle man is charged with a hate crime for attacking and yelling racial slurs at a taxi driver of Indian heritage. Adam J. Whitney allegedly ran from the Yellow Cab he took and attacked the taxi driver when he was confronted for payment. The taxi driver took shelter in his cab and Whitney kicked the doors and threw a tile from a flower bed that broke the windshield. If Whitney is convicted, he faces six to 12 months in jail. SOURCE: TheNewsTribune.com
Los Angeles, CA – February 2009: DNA of a man accused of attacking and raping seven Asian women matched DNA samples collected from two of the victims. Tyreese Reed’s DNA has been matched by a Los Angeles Police Department criminalist, who testified at his trial. Reed, dubbed by police as the “Koreatown rapist,” is charged with attacking seven Asian women aged 17 to 55 between August 26, 2004 and June 15, 2005. If convicted, Reed faces a maximum of 150 years in state prison. SOURCE: GlendaleNewsPress.com
North Wales, PA – January 2009: A Korean American man was killed in a home invasion and robbery as he and his wife left for work early in the morning. Three men attacked Robert Chae as he opened the garage door, stabbing him to death. The men proceeded to duct tape his two adult sons and demanded that his wife show them where they kept their money. After Chae’s wife escaped through a basement door, the men fled and was seen sprinting towards a cul-de-sac. Investigators are still trying to determine whether or not this crime is connected with the string of robberies that targeted Asian American business owners in Philadelphia and Delaware late last year. Police are asking anyone with information to please come forward. SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News
Bakersfield, CA – January 2009: A UPS driver wrote “terrorist” as the signed name for a delivered package on the UPS website. After receiving one of two packages, the Singh family went onto the UPS website to look for the second package. They stumbled upon the “signed by” section and saw that it was labeled “terrorist.” UPS has since changed the “signed by” name on their website from “terrorist” to “Singh.” A UPS spokesperson said that UPS hired seasonal employees during the holidays and is investigating this incident. SOURCE:TurnTo23.com
Charlotte, NC – December 2008: Police are investigating a break-in at a Laotian temple as a possible hate crime. An unknown number of thieves broke into the temple, stole several small Buddha statues, threw others on the floor, and then overturned a large statue with an extension cord. Investigators say that this is not the first the temple has been targeted and request that anyone with information please come forward. SOURCE: WSOCTV.com
St. Paul, MN – December 2008: Investigators are warning the Asian community to be aware of robberies in St. Paul that target Asian residents. While the location, days, and clothes worn by the suspects vary from incident to incident, the suspects asked to enter the home with some reason, such as using the phone or the bathroom, in all the crimes. Once inside the home, the suspects attack the victim and steal the jewelry the victims were wearing. Investigators say that the suspects are Asian and they are targeting Asian victims. They are asking any information be turned into the police. SOURCE: KSTP.com
Philadelphia, PA – December 2008: Five men have been arrested for committing at least 10 recent robberies targeting Asian business owners in Southwest Philadelphia and Delaware County. These men allegedly followed these businesses owners to their homes and robbed them, several at gunpoint. Officials suggest that business owners should vary their routine until all perpetrators have been apprehended. Police are still investigating these men in relation to two other robberies in the area. SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News
Savannah, GA – December 2008: A Ford dealer criticized Congress and consumers of Toyota automobiles in a radio advertisement after being angry over the proposed bailout of the Big Three. O.C. Welch, who owns a dealership near Savannah in South Carolina, calls vehicles “rice ready…not road ready” and blames politicians for being good only at “slinging med and spending our tax dollars” in a minute-long advertisement on a dozen radio stations. Floyd Mori, JACL National Executive Director, spoke with an Associate Press reporter, citing Welch’s comments are reminiscent of anti-Asian sentiment traced back to the 1930s. SOURCE: Associate Press
UPDATE: Ocie Welch, owner of O.C. Welch Ford Lincoln Mercury, made a public apology for his comments in the radio advertisements, stating that he wrongly conveyed his passion and love for Ford.
Houston, TX – December 2008: A Sikh family in Harris County was allegedly harassed by county deputies after their home was burglarized on the night before Thanksgiving. A thief had broken into the home through a bathroom window and stole about $15,000 worth of items. Ramandeep Singh, who called the police, said that the first deputy to arrive at the home seemed intimidated by his turban and his sister’s Kirpan, a religious ceremonial knife mandated to be worn by the Sikh faith. The deputy allegedly pointed a taser gun at Singh’s sister. Other deputies arrived and allegedly began handcuffing several of the family members while using expletives. Singh was detained in the back of the sheriff’s for hours. A supervisor arrived later and ordered that everyone be released. The command staff at the Harris County Sheriff’s office is investigating these allegations. SOURCE: Houston Chronicle and Click2Houston.com
San Francisco, CA – December 2008: The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it has obtained a monetary settlement of $37,000 for a Chinese American worker who was allegedly racially harassed while working for a Texas construction company on a San Francisco Municipal Railway project. The settlement includes the monetary settlement and a requirement that the company, Cadit Company Inc., must provide managers and employees with training to avoid harassment. In 2006, Ru Jian Lin was harassed daily by the construction foreman and was fired after he launched a complaint. SOURCE: cbs5.com
Roanoke Rapids, NC – November 2008: A man and his wife were asked to leave a local mission after he refused to remove his turban while trying to make a donation. A staffer asked Gary Khera to remove his turban according to the mission’s building policy. When Khera declined and cited that it was part of his religious beliefs, Reverend Ron Weeks asked him and his wife to leave for being “argumentative.” Khera and his wife have stopped making donations to this local mission. Reverend Weeks is considering changing the policy because of this incident. SOURCE:WRAL.com
Longview, WA – November 2008: An Oregon man is charged with assault, resisting arrest, and malicious harassment, which is a charge included under Washington’s hate crime laws for assaulting an Indian man. 28-year-old David Lee Katon accused the man of being a member of al-Qaida after the man asked Katon and his friends for a cigarette outside a Longview casino. Katon then followed the man to his car and slapped him. Police needed to use a stun gun to arrest Katon when he broke free and ran away.
New York, NY – November 2008: Seven teenagers face first-degree gang assault charges for the slaying of 37-year-old Marcello Lucero, who was walking to a friend’s apartment when attacked by the teenagers and stabbed in the chest. One teen also faces first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime charge. Officials say that the teens were specifically targeting Latinos. Lucero, who was an immigrant who lived and worked in the US for over a decade and a half, was laid to rest while New York officials attended the ceremony and condemned the attack. All seven teenagers pleaded not guilty during arraignment. SOURCE: CNN.com
UPDATE: The teen that stabbed Lucero will be arraigned on November 24, 2008 to an upgraded charge of second-degree murder as a hate crime in addition to the current charge of manslaughter as a hate crime. SOURCE: Associated Press
New York, NY – November 2008: Two teenagers charged with assault as a hate crime and weapons possession for beating a Muslim teenager during Election Night pleaded not guilty during arraignment. The teens allegedly attacked seventeen-year-old Ali Kamara while he walking home from a friend’s house and yelled Barack Obama’s name repeatedly during the attack. Police are still looking for other individuals that may be involved. SOURCE: NY1.com
Carteret, NJ – October 2008: Officials are investigating two separate attacks of a Sikh child and a Sikh senior citizen as hate crimes. Ajit Singh Chima, 69, was punched and kicked by an assailant during his daily exercise routine on October 27, 2008. Gagandeep Singh, 10, was attacked from behind and knocked down so the assailant could cut his hair when he was walking from alone from school on October 8, 2008. Suspects have yet to be identified. SOURCE: My Central Jersey
UPDATE Sacramento, CA – October 2008: Officials have made several arrests in the series of armed robberies against Asian women in the Sacramento area. Police have not released any further details as the investigation is still ongoing. They continue to urge residents to be on alert and report any information related to the robberies. SOURCE: The Sacramento Bee Click here for a related entry
Oceanside, CA – October 2008: 23-year-old Robert Charles Woods is being charged with committing a hate crime and participating in a criminal street gang. Woods allegedly attacked one Filipino man and two Latino men near the Oceanside Municipal Pier after accusing one of the men of stealing from him. He used racial slurs and “claims of white supremacy” during the attack. SOURCE: San Diego Union Tribune
St. Paul, MN – October 2008: Two Macalester College water polo players are seeking three resolutions after experiencing Monmouth University players allegedly displayed racist and homophobic conduct during the Men’s water polo tournament. The Macalester players are seeking a formal apology to themselves and the school, changes in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s policies on racial slurs and harassments, and an effective resolution in the harassment case. The Monmouth player’s allegedly used the racial slur “chink” and slant-eye gesture against one of the players, who is Japanese American, and called the other player “gay” while warning his teammates to avoid that player. Monmouth University administration has yet to respond publicly to these allegations. SOURCE: The Mac Weekly
Dayton, OH – October 2008: A 10-year-old girl was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance while at a local Islamic mosque celebrating Ramadan. She noticed two men standing outside an open basement window and was sprayed in the face that left a burning and nauseating sensation. Officials determined that this was not a hate crime because the men did not say anything to her before she was sprayed in the face and nothing was found at the scene. SOURCE: Dayton Daily News
Berkeley, CA – October 2008: University of California Berkeley (UCB) Campus Liaison Annie Noguchi reported a recent hate crime at UCB, where posters displayed at bus stops promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace were defaced with signs equating the Star of David with a swastika. Student organization Tikvah: Students for Israel created a coalition called “Erase the Hate Coalition at UCB” to help raise awareness about the severity of the crime and rally against further acts of hate. The Nikkei Student Union, UCB’s Japanese American interest group, became part of the coalition. SOURCE: Campus Liaison Annie Noguchi
Toledo, OH – September 2008: A strip mall is closed due to a suspicious fire that may be racially motivated. A racial slur that included an expletive and the word “Arab” was spray painted on the back wall of one of the businesses burned in the fire. Investigators have yet to call it arson. A Chinese restaurant and carry out store were among the businesses damaged in the fire. Several other stores have since become victim to looters since the fire. No arrests have been made.
Oakland, CA – September 2008: A former Oakland police officer is sued by a 19th alleged harassment victim. The victim is the 19th Asian American woman to file a suit against former officer Richard Valerga, claiming he pulled her over for no apparent reason and touched her inappropriately. Attorney Jim Chanin said that Valerga took advantage of Asian American women who didn’t speak English well but avoided Asian American women that had jobs and spoke English. The other similar claims ended with monetary settlements between the victims and the city of Oakland, who is now a co-defendant in the new suit. Valerga, who has already received jail time and probation, entered into a no contest plea for the most recent suit.
Whippany, NJ – September 2008: The Anti-Defamation League began the new school year with a hate crimes workshop for college security personnel, in which nearly 125 law enforcement personnel from 15 New Jersey colleges and representatives from other state law enforcement agencies attended. The workshop covered topics ranging from the legal perspective of hate crimes in New Jersey to hate symbols and their uses. The ADL also presented law enforcement officials throughout New Jersey with a series of ADL resources, including brochures and links to and Internet addresses of related hate crimes websites.
Federal Way, WA – September 2008: 25-year-old Douglas P. Jones is charged with malicious harassment following an assault of a Pakistani local store owner. The clerk sounded a silent hold-up alarm when an apparently drunk Jones came into the store, grabbed a hold of him and hit him. Jones also beat the clerk with objects off of the counter while shouting racial slurs. The clerk suffered minor cuts. Jones is being held on $25,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty.
Tallahassee, FL – September 2008: This November, Florida voters will have a chance to remove the alien land law of 1926 still in Florida’s Constitution. Florida is the last state in the nation to have such a law that allowed legislators to ban Asian immigrants from owning land. Historically, the law was never put into action by legislators. Sixty percent of voters must vote “yes” in order to remove this law. SOURCE: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Lake Tahoe, CA – September 2008: A couple, originally charged with a hate crime, has been sentenced to jail for a battery charge in the attack of an Indian American man at Lake Tahoe in July 2007. The hate crime charge was dropped several months ago when Judge Suzanna Kingsbury found that the incident did not fit into the legal definition of a hate crime. Georgia and Joseph Silva has been sentence to one year in jail, and six months in jail and three years probation, respectively. SOURCE: Tahoe Daily Tribune. Click here for related entry.
Los Angeles, CA – September 2008: 55-year-old Joseph Pepe of Oxnard, CA faces 210-year sentence for sexually abusing seven Cambodian girls ages 9 to 12 at his compound in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Pepe is a retired U.S. Marine captain who was working as a civilian teacher in Cambodia when he committed the crimes. Former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph A. Mussomeli wrote a letter to the judge asking for the maximum sentence. Pepe is expected to be sentenced on November 4 after U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer has had an opportunity to review the victims’ statements among other issues in the case. SOURCE: Los Angeles Times
Montgomery County, MD – September 2008: Montgomery County police are looking for two men responsible for robbing three Asian couples after following them home in September 2008. In all three cases, the couples were about to enter their residences before being hit and attacked by a pair of young men. Montgomery Country police are urging residents to heighten their awareness of their surroundings.
Revere, MA – September 2008: Two men were charged with carrying out conspiracy that interfered with the fair housing of rights of two Muslim families. The defendants were charged with repeatedly vandalizing and damaging vehicles parked in from of the home shared by both families in 2004 and 2005. If convicted, both men face a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, one year supervised release, and an unspecified amount of restitution for the victims.
San Francisco, CA – September 2008: The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a man convicted of the first-degree murder of a Vietnamese American man in 1996. Thien Minh Ly was attacked while in-line skating on a high school tennis court in southern California on January 28, 1996. He was stabbed at least 50 times, including 14 times to the heart. Gunner Lindberg was convicted of first-degree murder that was partially motivated by racial bias. Lindberg became the first person in California to be sentenced to death row for a racially motivated murder. His attorney appealed the charge of racial bias motivation, citing a lack of evidence. However, the California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence because of the overwhelming evidence of Lindberg’s racist views. No date has been set for Lindberg’s execution.
Toledo, OH – September 2008: A strip mall is closed due to a suspicious fire that may be racially motivated. A racial slur that included an expletive and the word “Arab” was spray painted on the back wall of one of the businesses burned in the fire. Investigators have yet to call it arson. A Chinese restaurant and carry out store were among the businesses damaged in the fire. Several other stores have since become victim to looters since the fire. No arrests have been made.
Sacramento, CA – August 2008: Sacramento officials cancelled a controversial screening of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” during the city’s free Screen on the Green movie series. Asian American activists voiced their concern for the movie’s racist scenes with Mickey Rooney’s stereotypical depiction of the character Mr. Yunioshi. Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Cohn agreed to delete or blur Rooney’s scenes and use the edited version as a teaching moment; however, Cohn later changed his mind to cancel the screening and replace it with “Ratatouille,” claiming that the edits would change the movie too much.
New York, NY – August 2008: Two minority women fired from a Manhattan nightclub filed a lawsuit against their former employer claiming that they were dismissed because of their skin. A waitress and a bartender, who were Asian American African American respectively, alleged that they were fired from the club, 10AK, because the owner wanted only “white girls.” The club attorney dismissed the charges, saying that the formers employees were fired because of their poor work performance along with four other White employees.
Lansing, MI – August 2008: The Michigan State legislature will soon consider the Michigan Anti-Bias Crime Statute which addresses bias motivated crime by enhancing the current Michigan hate crime law and making it easier for law enforcement offices and prosecutors to enforce the law. The statute will add disability and sexual orientation to the list of groups and focus on the motive behind crimes. Many believe that this legislation is necessary, as Michigan has the third-highest number of reported hate crimes in the country according to the FBI.
Sacramento, CA – August 2008: Police are warning Sacramento residents to exercise vigilance and be on the lookout for armed robbers who are primarily targeting Asian women in the driveways of their homes. Five robberies have occurred since the end of July. Police believe that the crimes are linked due to similarities in the description of the robbers and the manner in which they left the crime scene. Until the perpetrators have been caught, police urge the public be mindful of their surroundings and exercise caution when traveling to and from home.
St. Paul, MN – August 2008: A healing ceremony was held at a St. Paul park where a statue was vandalized with hate symbols. On July 12 during a Dragon Festival celebrating Asian Pacific culture, the sculpture of a woman resting on her chin on the back of her hand titled “Meditation” at Phalen Park was defaced with profanity, swastikas, “KKK”, and ethnic slurs. The community held a healing ceremony to symbolize a “ritualistic beginning” of the sculpture’s restoration. No arrests have been made yet, which is being treated as a felony and hate crime.
Update: The statue has been restored. Community volunteers are now patrolling the park to prevent future incidences. No arrests have been made.
New York, NY – August 2008: ABC “Nightline” Anchorman Martin Bashir has written a letter of apology to the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) after making crude sexist remarks about Asian women. During his keynote speech at the annual AAJA convention, Bashir said “I’m happy to be in the midst of so many Asian babes. In fact, I’m happy that the podium covers me from the waist down… A speech should be like a dress on a beautiful woman – long enough to cover the important parts, and short enough to keep your interest – like my colleague Juju’s.” In his letter to the AAJA, Bashir apologized for his remarks, stating that “upon reflection, it was a tasteless remark that I now bitterly regret.”
Sacramento, CA – August 2008: UPDATE – A 22-year-old Sacramento man was sentenced to 150 days in jail for his role in a fatal fight that led to the death of Satender Singh last July at Lake Natoma. Aleksandr Shevchenko was convicted of disturbing the peace and simple assault. Shevchenko was also charged with a hate crime; however, the jury deadlocked on the charge in June. Andrey Vusik, the man suspected of the throwing the deadly punch, has fled the country. The fight left Singh in a coma; he died four days later. The Sacramento District Attorney’s office also said that they would not retry Shevchenko on the hate crime charge. Click here for related entry.
Placerville, CA – August 2008: A couple accused of beating an Indian American man at a beach in Lake Tahoe while yelling racial slurs pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor charges after a judge dismissed hate crime charges against the husband. The couple was charged with assaulting an Indian American man in July 2007, in which the man was beaten after approaching the couple for yelling racial slurs towards him, his fiancé, and her cousin. The husband was originally charged with felony assault and hate crimes, but a judge ruled that prosecutors failed to produce enough evidence to prove that the attack was racially motivated or that the attack involved enough force to be considered a felony charge. Sentencing is scheduled for September 24, at which, the couple could receive up six months of jail time for each misdemeanor charge. Click here for related entry.
Princeton, NJ – July 2008: The U.S. Department of Education has launched a federal review of Princeton University’s admissions policies following a complaint filed by a well-qualified Asian immigrant applicant. The applicant, Jian Li, filed a complaint with the Department after being rejected not only by Princeton but other high-ranked schools despite scoring perfectly on the SAT exam and graduating in the top 1% of his high school class. Officials say the complaint alleges that Princeton’s admissions policy discriminates against Asian American applicants by using racial quotas, which have been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. While Princeton denied using such quotas, the university has also declined to release admissions data broken down by race and test scores.
Kalispell, MT – July 2008: Three Marion men involved in an attack on Asian migrant workers pleaded not guilty to hate crimes. The alleged attack occurred on July 12 at a campground in Marion where the men shouted racial slurs and threw beer bottles at the migrant workers after following them from a convenience store. This attack followed a confrontation at the convenience store between the workers and one of the alleged perpetrators. Authorities believe that the man confronted the migrant workers after his sister thought she overheard them threatening to beat him up. However, a defense attorney said that the migrant workers instigated the incident when they thought the man said something disrespectful when he asked if they were waiting in line. Authorities say that the attack was racially motivated. The men, charged with malicious intimidation or harassment relating to civil or human rights, face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine each if convicted.
New York, NY – June 2008: Nearly 200 members of the Sikh community in New York turned out for a protest march organized by the Sikh Coalition in response to a long string of hate crimes against Sikh students. The protest march was sparked by a recent incident in which a 12-year old Sikh student had at least three inches of her hair cut off by a fellow student. While the school immediately suspended the perpetrator, the Sikh community demanded that the U.S. Department of Education take proactive steps rather than reactive steps to prevent future hate crimes against Sikh students. The Sikh Coalition is also currently meeting with the Department of Education to create diversity educational programs to be implemented at the beginning of the upcoming academic year.
New Jersey - May 2008: After a 16-year-old Sikh American teenager was assaulted and had his patka (a Sikh headcovering) set on fire at Hightstown High School in central New Jersey, the 18-year-old alleged perpetrator is being charged with a hate crime, according to news reports. The accused is being charged with aggravated assault, bias intimidation, arson and criminal mischief.
National - March 2008: Asian Canadians and Asian Americans alike were riled up by comments from Toronto Chancillor Rob Ford, who commented that “Oriental people are slowly taking over,” and that “those Oriental people work like dogs… they sleep beside their machines.” A group of Asian Canadians staged a protest against Ford after the comments, earning him a reprimand from Toronto Mayor Michael Miller.
National - February 2008: A segment that recently aired on Anderson Cooper 360 has come under fire for portraying Asian Americans as racist and ignorant. The Feb. 8 segment, headlined “Asian American Vote,” implies that voters from this community are uninformed and racially prejudiced. Half a minute into the segment reporter Gary Tuchman pokes fun at an Asian American who speaks with an accent and seems to say “Lincoln,” instead of “Clinton.” Two and a half minutes into the clip, he points out a woman who refers to the presidential candidate as “Clinton white lady.” The majority of those interviewed appear to have been plucked from an Asian grocery store and spoke broken English.
Asian American groups across the country have spoken up against the CNN segment, alleging that the piece was a "misleading portrayal."
Seattle, WA - November 2007: Over Thanksgiving weekend a Sikh cab driver in Seattle was brutally attacked in what is being charged as a hate crime. On Nov. 24, two Seattle police officers asked Sukhvir Singh, 48, to escort home an intoxicated football fan who had been kicked out of Husky Stadium. In the cab, the 20-year old man began to attack Singh, pulling off his turban and yanking out clumps of his hair, all the while hurling racial slurs at him, calling him “an Iraqi terrorist.” Even when Singh pulled over the cab on the interstate and stepped out of the car, the man continued to beat him until Washington state troopers arrived.
UPDATE: According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Luis Arturo Vazquez, 21, pleaded guilty this week to second-degree assault and malicious harassment -- a hate crime -- for the November attack." Vasquez faces a two-year term when sentenced in April.
National - October 2007: An anti-Filipino remark on the popular ABC primetime show, “Desperate Housewives” led to outrage from the Asian American community, who found a line from Teri Hatcher’s character to be both demeaning and racist. In a Sept. 30 airing of an episode, Hatcher’s character questions her doctor’s credibility by asking, “Can I check those diplomas? Because I would like to make sure that they're not from some med school in the Philippines.” Since then, ABC and the show’s producers have apologized for the remark, claiming “There was no intent to disparage the integrity of any aspect of the medical community in the Philippines.”
Chicago, IL - September 2007: A Filipino-American nurse has filed suit against H&M, the corporate clothing retailer, for verbal harassment that she endured after visiting the downtown Chicago store in mid-September. Allegedly, two H&M sales representatives called Frannie Richards a “mail-order bride” and continued to make derisive racial comments (e.g. “ching chong chang”) even after she approached them to stop. H&M has not yet formally responded to Richard’s charges.
Maryland - September 2007: Two elderly Sikhs were beaten and badly bruised in what police are investigating as a hate crime attack. The two men, Darshan Sarang, 75, and Bhupinder Nibber, 77, were attacked by a group of six young men in a Maryland suburb one afternoon, in which the men hit one victim in the face and assaulted the other when he tried to call the police from his cell phone. The attackers then fled, leaving the first victim partially unconscious. Police are currently investigating.
Chicago, IL - August 2007:Two hate crime victims have been awarded $1.3 million by a Cook County judge after the November 2002 attack in Chicago’s West Loop which left one victim with a facial blowout fracture and the other with a three-inch gash on his head. Both victims were of South Asian descent. Their two attackers shouted racial slurs, including, “Are you Taliban? Go back to your country!” before becoming physically violent. The judge awarded the victims $1 million in punitive damages and $300,000 in compensatory damages.
Lake Tahoe, CA - August 2007: Following a racist verbal and physical attack on an Indian American man and his family in July, two perpetrators are being charged for their crimes. Joseph and Georgia Silva are to answer to hate crime charges and felony aggravated assault for attacking the San Francisco native and yelling slurs at his fiancé and cousin, calling them “Indian sluts and whores” and “relatives of Osama Bin Laden.” The Silvas then assaulted a nearby elderly Indian American couple by throwing sand at them and calling them derogatory names before being arrested on the scene. The victim of the initial attack was seriously injured and had to be taken to the hospital.
Bay Area, CA - August 2007: After posting an ad that raised eyebrows among members of the Chinese community, the FBI has issued an explanation for an announcement in local Chinese newspapers asking “to speak with individuals who have information about any intelligence service whose intent is to harm the U.S. We especially welcome anyone who has information about the Chinese Ministry of State Security to contact our office.” The FBI later explained that the ad was not meant to ask the Chinese community to spy on their neighbors or the Chinese government, though legal advocates say the ad was open to interpretation. According to Malcolm Yeung of the Asian Law Caucus, "For the FBI to post an advertisement -- asking Chinese to spy on their neighbors is absolutely patronizing," he said. "For the FBI to be doing something like this, frankly, I'm not sure of what kind of message they're sending.”
Sacramento, CA - July 2007: A lakeside picnic turned tragic when a man of Sikh descent was bludgeoned to death in what has been called a hate crime based on race and sexual orientation. Six men approached 26-year old Satender Singh and his friends, reportedly harassing them with racial slurs and homophobic epithets, before one of the men punched Singh, causing him to fall and hit his head. His family decided to pull Singh from life support after he was left in a coma from the blow. Police are in the midst of investigations.
New York City, NY- July 2007: Two Asian American men fell victim to a racially-motivated beating in New York's Chinatown the evening of July 2, leading to the arrest of the two offenders. As a 22-year old man crossed Canal Street, a white sedan pulled up and its passengers inside yelled, "This is for the Korean War!" as they climbed out of the car and began to beat him and another Chinese American man nearby. Police nabbed both offenders several days later.
Seattle, WA - June 2007: The subject of a Seattle Post Intelligencer article has now become the subject of a hate mail attack. Shokichi Tokita, a Japanese American whose family was incarcerated and interned during WWII, recently received a hateful letter after a story about his family's experience and hardship after internment was published in the Seattle newspaper. The letter included offensive lines such as, "there's no doubt in my mind that some of you japs [sic] would have stabbed us in the back if Pres. Rosevelt [sic] hadent [sic] put your asses in camps," in addition to other derogatory material.
Queens, NY - May 2007: In what has been charged as a hate crime, a Sikh student's hair was forcibly cut off in his high school's bathroom, resulting in the arrest of another student at Newton High School in Queens, NY. 17-year old Umair Ahmed, a student of Pakistani descent, got into an altercation with the 15-year old Sikh student and demanded he cut his hair as the only acceptable form of apology. When he resisted, Ahmed forced him into the bathroom, removed his turban, and cut his hair as two other students stood as lookouts. The Sikh religion requires men to not cut their hair. The United Sikhs, a Sikh rights coalition, has responded in a statement that the boy and his mother are both "very distressed," but commends the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force for their investigation into the matter.
New York City, NY - March 2007: A Filipino American teenager was the target of a racially motivated attack on March 16, 2007 when a group of teenagers assaulted Marie Stefanie Martinez, 17, while riding a New York MTA bus. A group of nine of ten teenagers surrounded Martinez, while on the MTA bus and taunted her for looking "Chinese." Subsequent to the attack, two teenagers, a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy were arrested for the attack on Martinez. New York Asian American organizations are upset with New York City Police and MTA for their inaction and for the handling of the situation, especially the MTA bus driver who told Martinez to consult her priest because she was wearing a Catholic school uniform. To sign a petition calling for justice for Marie Stefanie Martinez, click here.
San Francisco, CA - March 2007: Joseph Melcher, 25, who is being accused of a triple homicide involving three Asian Americans on October 21, 2006 in San Francisco's Japantown, had hate crime allegations added to the list of charges by San Francisco's District Attorney during his March 23rd day in court. Witnesses of the crime claim that Melcher yelled out to his victims not to mess with "Johnny Boy, whitey San Francisco Coke dealer." Melcher faces lifetime in prison, if he is convicted of the multiple murders and the hate crime charges. The three victims were Robert Stanford, Song Sun Lee and Kam Yan Li.
Queens, NY - January 2007 [Updated from August 2006]: Kevin Brown, 19, of the Auburndale section of Queens plead guilty to a hate crime assault in the beating of two Asian American teens in Queens, New York in August of 2006. Brown is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2007. Another man, Paul Heavey, 21, of Queens has been charged with a hate crime assault, reckless endangerment as a hate crime and other offenses, but has yet to be brought up on the accused charges. In the wake of the plea, Kevin Brown also admitted to assaulting a 64-year old man and his 30-year old son in Queens, New York.
Princeton, NJ - January 2007: Jian Li, a Chinese student at Yale University, who made headlines in late 2006 over his civil lawsuit against Princeton University challenging its admissions policy, was recently targeted in a stereotypic manner by the Daily Princetonian. Under a byline of Jian Li, the paper espoused racial stereotypes, which included: "Hi Princeton! Remember me? I so good at math and science. Perfect 2400 SAT score. Ring Bells? Just in case, let me refresh your memories. I the super smart Asian. Princeton the super dumb college, not accept me."
New York City, NY - December 2006: Rosie O'Donnell, co-host for ABC's "The View," was discussing Danny DeVito's new movie and his seemingly drunken appearance on Chinese media when O'Donnell states, "The fact is that it's news all over the world. You know, you can imagine in China it's like, 'Ching chong, ching chong, Danny DeVito, ching chong chong chong chong, drunk, The View, ching chong." Asian American media groups and organizations like the Organization of Chinese Americans have responded to O'Donnell's actions calling her words an insult to Chinese and all Asian Pacific Americans. Since then, O'Donnell has insincerely apologized stating, "...and I'm sorry for those people who felt hurt or were teased on the playground."
St. Peters, MO - October 2006: Maqbool Ali Kahn, a Pakistani American man, his Indian American wife and their sons, ages ten and four, awoke on the morning of Halloween to discover that they had become the recent victims of vandalism when their garage was scrawled with racist graffiti. The letters "KKK" as well as the words "Kill Muslim" were sprayed in silver paint across the face of the garage door. As of now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into taking the case over as a hate crime.
Brooklyn, NY - October 2006: Five Brooklyn teen have been arrested and accused of committing a hate crime against a Pakistani man on Sunday, October 29, 2006. While eating ice cream outside a local Dunkin Donuts in Brooklyn, New York, a group of 10 to 15 teens taunted Shahid Amber with racial slurs before three from the group went up to Amber knocked the ice cream out of his hands and spit on his face. Subsequent to the spitting came a series of punches and kicks to the head, breaking Amber's nose and jaw. "They were saying, you Muslim scumbag, you have f---ed up this country. You don't have the right to live here. Go back to your country," reports Amber. Those arrested were charged with assault, assault as a hate crime, menacing, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, for the brass knuckles used by Amber's attackers.
Fremont, CA - October 2006: Alia Ansari, a Muslim mother of six who lived in Fremont, was murdered in broad daylight with a bullet to the head as she walked down the street with her 3-year-old daughter. Local Muslim leaders fear it is a hate crime, stating she carried no purse or money, but was wearing her hijab, or head scarf, which may have distinguished her to the killer. "Whoever did this did not see Alia Ansari…He saw a symbol of something that people are taught to hate," said one leader. A press conference and public memorial services have been held. Fremont JACL President Alan Mikuni has been contacted.
Queens, NY - August 2006: Four Asian males while driving at 2:30 AM in Queens, New York, on August 12, 2006, were racially assaulted by 19-year-old Kevin Brown and 20-year-old Paul Heavey who had pulled up next to them. The two white males were allegedly shouting racially slurs at the Asians' vehicle. As the four Asian men tried to escape, they were again caught up to by Brown and Heavey. When 19-year-old John Lu got out of the car to inspect it for damage, Brown and Heavey attacked Lu by punching him several times in the head and body. The driver of the Lexus carrying the four Asian men, Reynold Liang, got out of the car to help Lu, but was also attacked, which resulted in a fractured skull. The two assailants were arrested by police twenty minutes later. The arrest of Brown and Heavey by police officers also turned bloody as officers Graziano Cillo and Scott Lutz were injured when Brown crashed his car into the police vehicle. Brown and Heavey were charged with assault as a hate crime, reckless endangerment as a hate crime and criminal mischief as a hate crime, and Brown was charged additionally with resisting arrest.
New York City – August 2006: New York DJ Star, Troi Torain, of Power 105 Radio Station is attempting to sue New York City councilman, John Liu, for having the DJ fired from his job in May of 2006. Torain was released from his position after making anti-Asian remarks against a rival DJ from Hot 97 Radio in New York City. In addition, Torain threatened to sexually abuse the rival DJ's four-year-old daughter. As a result, Torain was arrested in May for harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Edison, NJ – August 2006: Spilling over from a July 4th arrest of Rajnikant Parikh, an Indian American community member of Edison, approximately 75 protestors gathered outside of the township's municipal complex calling for the suspension of Edison police officer Michael Dotro. The 75 Indian American protestors were met with 30 counterprotestors in support of the Edison police. While Parikh supporters demanded action for the alleged police brutailtiy committed by Officer Dotro, counterprotestors held signs reading "If you act like an animal, you get treated like an animal." Korean American Mayor Jun H. Choi called for respectful diversity of Edison and cooperation between community members and police.
Santa Clara County, CA – July 2006: Forty-year-old Iqbal Singh, a resident of Santa Clara's Sikh community, was stabbed in the neck on Sunday, July 30, 2006 while leaving his home to attend religious services around 10:30 AM. In an apparent hate crime, the twenty-year-old perpetrator was, who was later apprehended by police, claimed that Singh was a member of the Taliban, an Afghani Islamic Fundamentalist group. This incident is the second hate incident to occur in the same weekend for Santa Clara. City officials intend to begin the first of several meetings in Santa Clara to combat the recent flurry of hate incidents.
Toledo, OH – June 2006: As a prank, a DJ at Tower 98 radio in Toledo repeatedly called a Japanese restaurant with remarks such as “me love you long time,” “ching, chong chung,” and “Me speakee no English.” The DJ and the station program director refused to acknowledge that there was any thing wrong with this stunt. A local Asian American group, Asian Communities United (ACU) protested the incident, which included an online petition with over 1,500 signatures that was presented to the station owners. Following negotiations, the station suspended the DJ without pay and the station’s program director was let go. ACU is continuing its negotiation with the station owners to institute diversity training among the station’s personnel.
Los Angeles – January 2006: CBS radio personality Adam Carolla repeated alengthly rant of “ching chong, ching chong” in mocking the Asian Excellence Awards, a show that recognizes accomplishments in the entertainment industry. Following widespread protests and complaints from throughout the country, Carolla apologized for offending the Asian community though he was not sanctioned by CBS for his behavior.
Farmers Branch, Texas – January 2006: The police chief in Farmers Branch was suspended following derogatory remarks he made regarding a Vietnamese police recruit. According to media accounts, the police chief, Jimmy Fawcett, reportedly said, “As long as I’m chief, we won’t have any gooks working in Farmers Branch.” Fawcett was suspended for six days without pay and he apologized to those present who heard his remarks.
January 2006 – Spencer Gifts: a specialty retail gift chain featured t-shirts with stereotyped Asian caricatures and offensive text. One shirt featured a rooster with “Suk Mai Cock Poultry Farm” and another t-shirt read “Hang Out With Your Wang Out.” Following protests from the community, the New Jersey-based retailer expressed “deepest regrets for any offense derived from merchandise carried in our stores” saying that they would discontinue the line of clothing.
Sacramento – June 2006: The California Department of Justice recently released their 2005 hate crime statistics report, which shows a decline of 4.5 percent to 1,691 in the number of hate crimes reported from 2004. There were 916 incidents involving race or ethnicity, including 50 that were anti-Asian. 1,096 of the incidents were violent crimes such as intimidation, aggravated assault or simple assault. The remaining 595 incidents were property crimes, primarily vandalism.
Washington, D.C: In its annual hate crime statistics report for 2004, the FBI reported that 12,711 law enforcement agencies nationwide submitted reports showing 7,649 hate crime incidents. There were 7,642 single-bias incidents. Among the single-bias incidents, racially motivated crimes accounted for 52.9 percent, religious bias accounted for 18 percent, bias against sexual orientation accounted for 15.7 percent and bias against ethnicity or national origin accounted for 12.7 percent of the single-bias incidents.
Racial bias motivated crimes against 5,119 hate crime victims of single-bias incidents. Nearly 68 percent of the victims were the object of an anti-black bias. Slightly more than 20 percent were victims of an anti-white bias, 5.2 percent were victimized because of an anti-Asian or Pacific Islander bias and 2 percent were victims due to an anti-American Indian or Alaskan native bias.
Illinois – June 27, 2005: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation to make it a hate crime to use electronic communication to harass someone because of their race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability.
Washington, D.C. – A hate crimes prevention amendment offered by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) was adopted. This amendment would add crimes motivated by discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to the federal hate crimes statute. It would also provide additional federal assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
Sacramento – California Assembly Bill 378 introduced by Assembly Member Judy Chu (D-49th District) provides hate crime victims with a fair opportunity to seek civil recovery from their attackers by extending the statute of limitations from one year to three years for recovering the $25,000 civil penalty under the Ralph and/or Bane Act.
California Hate Crime Statistics – The number of hate crimes in California decreased by 5.5% in 2004 to the lowest in a decade, according to the report, “Hate Crime in California 2004,” released by the Attorney General’s Office. Of note, however, is that while hate crimes overall have decreased in the state, hate crimes directed at African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Pacific Islanders increased. Los Angeles County reported the highest number of hate crimes at 501, and San Francisco was second with 144 crimes reported.
Last Updated on December 5, 2008