Rantz: Seattle activists pressure anti-Asian hate crime charge without evidence

Mar 22, 2021, 10:05 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2021, 11:26 am

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.”

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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