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US Rep. Judy Chu said Sunday that the mass killings at Atlanta massage parlors that left eight people dead — including six Asian women — should be classified as a hate crime.
Chu, a California Democrat of Chinese descent, said on ABC”s “This Week” that she “strongly” believes that accused gunman Robert Aaron Long targeted Asians during the bloody killing spree Tuesday.
“This is a 21-year-old white male who chose as his first victim a business that was called Young’s Asian massage,” Chu said. “Then he drove for 27 miles to another spot where he hit two more Asian spas.
“If his only problem was sex addiction, then he could have had his choice in those 27 miles of any place that he could have gone,” Chu said. “But no, he specifically went to those Asian spas, where it was clear in all these places there would be many Asian women.”
Chu has been pushing the proposed No Hate Act and the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Capitol Hill — two bills that would criminalize coronavirus-related hate crimes and provide federal funding for state and local hate-crimes legislation and enforcement.
Human-rights advocates contend that Asian-Americans have been particularly targeted because the global pandemic originated in China.
Meanwhile, US Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Georgia Democrat, agreed Sunday in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Atlanta shootings constituted a hate crime during.
“Look, law enforcement will go through the work that they need to do,” Warnock said. “But we all know hate when we see it.”
Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that there needs to be a “deeper investigation” into whether race played a role in the attacks.
Federal authorities said last week that there was no evidence the deadly attack constituted a hate crime under federal statutes, at least at this point.
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