Rantz: Seattle activists pressure anti-Asian hate crime charge without evidence
Seattle activists and an assault victim are pressuring the King County Prosecutor’s Office to charge a man with an anti-Asian hate crime. But there’s no evidence a hate crime occurred.
Sean Holdip, who is Black, is accused of assaulting Noriko Nasu, who is Japanese, and her boyfriend, who is white, in a brutal attack in Seattle’s International District. He allegedly used a sock full of rocks to hit the two victims. It left Nasu with fractures in the nose and cheek, broken teeth, and a concussion, and her boyfriend with a nasty, deep wound to his head.
Nasu and area activists want hate crime charges. If they get their way, they will be responsible for the suspect seeing no jail time at all.
What’s more, they’re needlessly creating a culture of fear for the Asian American community when, contrary to what the media tells you, there’s not been a surge in hate crime referrals in Seattle.
No evidence of a hate crime
There’s no doubt that Nasu and her boyfriend are victims of an assault. They have the wounds and trauma to prove it. But there’s been no proof offered that the attack was motivated by race.
“We are ethically bound to only bring cases that we believe can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” a spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s Office said in an email. “As horrible as this attack was, we do not believe we can prove a hate crime before a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Investigators, which are separate from our office, are looking for evidence that would allow us to prove a hate crime beyond a reasonable doubt.”
A victim who is Asian does not automatically equate to a hate crime, even when it’s happening as activists and the media call out a surge of violence. The suspect didn’t just allegedly attack Nasu, but her white boyfriend, too. That alone suggests this isn’t a cut and dry hate crime. And it’s not like we don’t see random acts of violence in Seattle. If evidence emerges of a hate crime, charges can always be added (and they should be).
Still, Nasu insists on a public pressure campaign to get Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to charge a hate crime.
Victim is going too far
It’s rarely easy to criticize a victim. I believe Nasu thinks she was targeted for her race. But her rhetoric goes too far.
At a press event on Monday, alongside Governor Jay Inslee and state lawmakers, Nasu made a hyperbolic claim: Not seeing hate crime charges is more painful than the physical attack she endured.
“He knocked me unconscious, leaving me with fractures in the nose and cheek, broken teeth and a concussion,” she said. “I’m still having persistent migraines, dizziness and brain fog, to a point where I can barely function. However, all of this pain was nothing compared to what came next.”
This is a rather outrageous sentiment, considering what came next were two felony assault charges that carry more serious jailtime than a hate crime would. We live in a county where it is exceptionally difficult to see any serious charges filed. And when that happens, the suspect is offered a plea deal. Often, they end up seeing little-to-no serious jailtime.
“Even if he didn’t say anything anti-Asian, his actions speak for themselves,” Nasu said.
She’s right: The actions do speak for itself. They’re just not saying what she wants to believe they’re saying. Charge the suspect because the victim believes it was a hate crime, and any competent lawyer will make sure he walks.
Feeling ignored? By the hundreds of supporters?
Nasu says her story, and the plight of Asian Americans in general, are not getting the attention they deserve.
“I feel as if I was abused twice, first by the attacker and second by the legal system,” Nasu said. “I’m just horrified to know that so many of us have experienced or are experiencing this hate, and yet nothing has been done. We feel ignored. We want justice. And we want action. Now.”
Nasu wasn’t abused twice. She was abused once. The legal system didn’t abuse her, a criminal did.
Nothing has been done? She feels ignored? There have been numerous, well-attended rallies in support of her case and the general Stop Asian Hate campaign in the region. The Governor came out of his COVID bubble to stand by her side.
The victim doesn’t want justice; she wants to be the judge and jury. That’s called injustice. It’s why we don’t put victims in charge of punishment: They’re justifiably emotional. But that emotion can cloud judgment.
There is a tendency to let victims speak “their truth” and say nothing critical. I don’t subscribe to that unspoken rule when the rhetoric is so over-the-top. In this case, her claims will very likely be used to forward bad policy to address what she perceives to be a problem. Lawmakers attended the press conference and they’re signaling their virtue for attention and social currency. It’s not above them to introduce feel-good legislation that does more harm than good.
Changing the bar for hate crimes to include no proof of motivation, just merely that the victim is a protected class, is the antithesis to justice. I also don’t think it’s especially healthy to tell Asian Americans that they’re walking targets every time they leave their home. That’s not happening here.
Seattle isn’t seeing a surge of hate crimes
We’re supposed to believe that MAGA-supporting bigots are attacking Asian Americans because they were taught to hate them over the coronavirus.
In their never ending obsession with former president Donald Trump, activists and politicians continue to claim the former president is somehow responsible for any and all attacks on Asian Americans.
“We are affected by what we say — that has an impact,” Inslee said on Monday. “And, unfortunately, some people allowed the President of the United States to fan the flames of hatred against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders for years, and people did not stand up against it.”
Saying China is responsible for the coronavirus is not an incitement to violence. It’s accurately explaining that China withheld information on the virus and tried to cover up an epidemic. Their actions cost millions of people their lives or livelihoods. Can we call out the communist regime for their genocide against the Uyghurs or would that inspire too much hate?
It’s also not a bunch of MAGA-supporting white dudes committing the alleged attacks.
Of the nine hate crime charges this year in King County, the prosecutor’s office says five were allegedly committed by Black people. Progressives previously explained Black people cannot be racist because they don’t have power and even dismissed the idea of offering more police protection to Asian American communities.
Since the suspects in the nation’s highest profile attacks on Asian Americans are Black, activists have said we should be less harsh in our condemnation. They wanted us to address the root causes of hate instead.
Suddenly, however, that talking point has been pushed aside. It’s been replaced with a claim that there’s a surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans. But is that true here?
Stop Asian Hate report is… not very instructive
There’s certainly been hate crimes committed against Asian Americans in the last year.
But some in and out of the media point to a report by Stop AAPI Hate to bolster the claim of a surge of crimes. Indeed, the report says Washington has the third highest hate incidents committed against Asians with 160.
But the report doesn’t cite actual crimes and it’s not based on data from law enforcement. It’s self-reported “hate incidents” including people overhearing offensive jokes. Are we really going to conflate that with an actual hate crime?
Reporters uncritically quote this report without giving you context. There’s a fear from journalists, particularly when they’re on the Left, who think providing this context is somehow dismissive or disrespectful to victims. It’s not. Hate crimes and hate incidents occur. But facts matter.
Where do we stand?
So where do we stand? A victim wants a charge when there’s no evidence yet, which ensures that the suspect will walk if she gets her way. Then we’ll hear claims from the victim — and other activists — that the justice system is racist.
But charging someone for crimes of which no evidence exists actually shows our justice system works. Come back with evidence of a hate crime, and it should be pursued. I’ll help call out the bigotry with you.
Meanwhile, Democrats will continue to signal their virtue against hate when they’re less interested in standing up for Asian Americans than they are pushing a line showing how racist this country is.
For years, Democrats have claimed this country embraces white supremacy (a term that has lost all its meaning thanks to its overuse). Now, whenever they can, they’ll exploit a crime and a victim to forward their anti-America narrative.
Democrat’s posture on this issue is ironic since anti-Asian discrimination has come from the Left as of late.
Progressives have routinely treated Asians as “white” because they’ve seen too much progress in their community, whereas other racial minorities have not. Indeed, the contrived BIPOC acronym/buzzword focuses the attention on Black and Indigenous people, pushing Asians into a nebulous “people of color” category. We’ve seen this attitude play out in schools across the country.
After the Trump DOJ filed a lawsuit against Yale for discriminatory practices that hurt Asian Americans, it was the Joe Biden administration that stepped in and dropped the case. Biden is about equity and Asians Americans are doing too well.
Here in Washington, Inslee’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families insists the “concept of race” is meant to oppress minority communities. But since Asian Washingtonians are outperforming Blacks and Hispanics (and whites), the departments dismisses Asian American experiences and focuses entirely on comparing some minority groups to whites.
In the North Thurston Public Schools district, officials removed Asian students from their “students of color” category after data showed they were doing too well academically. Instead, they were lumped in with white students.
But now Democrats have returned to caring about Asian Americans again. And even though the facts don’t back up claims, they’ll happily play literal White Knights if it forwards an agenda showing this country is racist. I’m not sure anyone is served by this.
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