Asian-Americans On Edge: Why Hate Crimes Are Problematic

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What is it that has so many Americans seemingly yearning to be seen as victims of racism? Is it about wanting to belong? Is it about getting attention? Isn’t it a form of crying wolf that makes it difficult for true victims of racism to get justice?

Normally, most people see this kind of behavior for what it is: psycho-emotional manipulation. However, these days, attention-seeking opportunists have an advantage. An activist media and political class that is all too eager to validate their delusions because it fits their narrative that America is a mean place. 

At about 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday in late February, a man and a woman were walking in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District when a man attacked them. It was a savage attack. According to KOMO News, the suspect allegedly assaulted them with a sock filled with rocks. 

He reportedly struck the woman in the face, causing a concussion, breaking her nose, bruising her cheek and mouth, blackening her eyes, and breaking several lower teeth. He also struck the man in the head so hard the victim needed eight stitches to close the wound. 

The man said he believes his girlfriend was singled out for an attack because she is Asian (remember, they were in Chinatown). He is white. By any standard, this was a horrific attack. People should be able to walk down the street and not have some violent criminal attack them. 

However, we cannot deny that in some American cities, we’ve seen politicians give criminals tacit, and sometimes explicit, permission to commit crimes—even of violence. Officials do this in two ways: one, by not allowing the police to enforce the law and, two, by refusing to prosecute people who commit crimes, including assault, during left-wing riots. 

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Regardless, the couple has hopped aboard the newest leftist cause: Asians ostensibly targeted by “white supremacists.” Well, one part of that narrative collapses, here. The suspect is black. Some statistics show a relative uptick in Asians reporting attacks, nationally. But they’re mostly being committed by black suspects. And it’s not new as discussed in this 2010 piece from the SFGate. 

Listening to the woman, for whom I feel terrible about her injuries and psychological trauma, is difficult for a retired cop. Having served in this jurisdiction, I know how hard it is to get the Seattle or King County prosecutors to prosecute a crime. Of course, this being a government-sanctioned crime due to the racial identity of one of the victims, the county prosecutor was all over this one. Good. But they should be all over all violent crimes. The KC prosecutor’s office is pursuing felony charges against the suspect. 

But, for the victims, that’s not good enough. They want prosecutors to charge the man with a “hate crime.” The problem is, the police say there is no evidence of a hate crime. If the prosecutors charge a hate crime simply to satisfy the victims or a loud constituency, they could easily lose the case, and the suspect would get off entirely. The woman told the media because the prosecutor is not charging for a “hate crime,” she has been abused twice: once by the suspect and then by the system. This is simply not true.  

Her attack has sparked a community outpouring of support and sympathy. She even had the governor standing by her during an address at a public gathering. This brings up a rhetorical question. What else could she want? Well, we know the answer: hate crime charges. She can’t simply be an assault victim; the attack must be racially motivated to matter.  

It’s odd when some people seem to want their assaults to be due to racial (or whatever) victimhood. I remember as a cop investigating these types of crimes. Victims would think just because they were fill-in-the-blank and the suspect wasn’t, that it was a “hate-crime.” I’m black, he’s white, and he punched me—hate crime. Not the way it works, folks. It has to be proven the person committed a crime against you because you are fill-in-the-blank (government authorized victim category). 

That’s the problem with so-called hate-crime legislation. They venture beyond punishing people’s actions to punishing people’s thoughts. It places certain people above other people concerning committing a crime or being a crime victim. If I’m a white guy and I punch another white guy and break his nose, I get a lesser penalty. If I’m a white guy and I punch a black guy because he’s black and I break his nose (same injury), I get a greater penalty. I’m not just punished for the crime but further for my thought-motivation behind the crime. 

You may like the law, and that’s fine. Frankly, I say increase all penalties to what would be the “hate crime” punishment. But can such a law rightly be called equal justice under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? 

The race-baiting leftists exploiting this poor woman’s misperceptions about “justice,” after having suffered this trauma, is disgusting. Just a cursory review of the suspect’s history shows he’s got a long history of violence toward all kinds of people. Some of his violent transgressions occurred while he was an EMT for FDNY in New York City. 

He reportedly swung a mop handle at a firefighter who’d insulted his driving. There was also an undetailed report of misogyny, and he reportedly pulled a knife on a co-worker. These incidents spanned between 2010 and 2014 when he was finally fired from the fire department. My guess is there were many more incidents that went unreported.

The victims don’t know how lucky they are to have the King County prosecutor pursuing charges against their attacker so vigorously. We’re talking about serious felony charges in a county where prosecutions are often rarer than a Sasquatch sighting.

And, as Jason Rantz of KTTH Radio wrote, “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.”

Each true case of criminal violence must be vigorously investigated, regardless of an individual’s race. Suspects should be charged when there is sufficient evidence, appropriately adjudicated, and sentenced. Still, the question remains. Why would any individual or group act as if he, she, or they desire to be targets of racism? 

The attack, regardless of motivation, is still evil. But, on a societal basis, shouldn’t the community be encouraged the police have found no evidence of racism for the attack? Doesn’t enflaming a false narrative, even unintentionally, create a breeding ground for false reporting? And if your adherence to an ideological narrative, thorough your statements and actions, do not match the evidence, isn’t that exactly what you are doing? Perpetuating a lie to frighten the community, which encourages more lies. Perhaps, it’s time for some self-reflection.         



meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer and on the East Precinct Community Police Team. He's the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State." He's also a contributor to the National Police Association.

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