Shouldn’t it be a Hate Crime?
especially important that race-based hatred should not be dismissed as a motivation.
Parallels in History
There are eerie parallels between this case and other cases of anti-Asian hate and xenophobia, mixing hate speech with
hate action. What comes to mind is the 1982 baseball bat beating death of Chinese American Vincent Chin by Ronald
Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz in Highland Park, Michigan. In that case, a witness in a bar overheard Ebens say to
Vincent "because of you mother f------s, we're out of work." The death of Vincent Chin led to community outrage, an FBI
investigation, and two civil rights trials.
I remember being the president of the OCA Detroit chapter, when I got the call from Kin Yee of the Chinese Welfare
Council, about the probation and fine sentence in that case, and our joint efforts led to the founding of American Citizens
for Justice/Asian American Center for Justice in 1983. And I remember reaching out to OCA National for its support as part
of a larger movement for justice for Vincent.
OCA, civil rights activists, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community should hope and expect the FBI to do a
complete and thorough investigation of the Kansas shootings. The FBI should also not hesitate to investigate the
shootings in Olathe as a potential hate crime based upon race or national origin. As in the Chin case, it is again time for
OCA to monitor this investigation and all others into potential hate crimes within our community. Our St. Louis Chapter, the
closest chapter to Kansas City, is helping by tracking the investigation, and offering to support advocates on the ground.
Regardless of distance, though, all OCA chapters, along with the larger Asian American and Pacific Islander community,
can assist by checking on the well-being of the families, making sure the cases are publicized, and making sure all facts
are explored in regard to building a case of a race-based or national origin hate crime. As we know in Michigan after the
Vincent Chin case, we cannot rest until all facts that would lead to a hate crime charge are fully explored.
By Roland Hwang
President, OCA Detroit
Late February this year, two Indian Americans were shot in a Kansas bar,
one of them died, and now we must ask why.
"Get out of my country" and then shots fired - Shouldn't it be a hate crime?
The unprovoked shooting and killing of 32-year old Srinivas Kuchibhotla,
and shooting of Kuchibhotla's friend Alok Madasani in Austin's Bar and
Grille an Olathe, Kansas bar by Adam Purinton is a heinous act. But
Purinton also allegedly said "get out of my country" before opening fire.
So the FBI is investigating whether the incident is a hate crime, as they
should. In this time of racial tensions and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it is
|Srinivas Kuchibhotla shot dead in a Kansas bar.