Crime Georgia District Attorney Intends to File Hate Crime Charges Against Robert Aaron Long
'A historic surge': Anti-Asian American hate incidents continue to skyrocket despite public awareness campaign
New data reveals hate incidents against Asians and Asian Americans are still on the rise despite anti-hate public awareness campaigns.There was a more than 164% increase in anti-Asian hate crime reports to police in the first quarter of 2021 in 16 major cities and jurisdictions compared with last year, according to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
A Georgia district attorney intends to file hate crime charges against Robert Aaron Long, 22, who is accused of shooting and killing eight people, including six Asian women, at massage spas in the Atlanta area on March 16. Long was indicted Tuesday on murder charges.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking the death penalty, which goes against a statement she made last year at a candidate forum during her campaign for district attorney in which she said she would refuse to seek the death penalty as a sentence, the Associated Press reported.
With civil rights charges, Justice Dept. signals priorities
The Justice Department is sending a strong message about its priorities these days. In just over the past two weeks, it has opened investigations of police in Louisville, Kentucky, and Minneapolis. In just over the past two weeks, it has opened investigations of police in Louisville, Kentucky, and Minneapolis. Federal prosecutors have charged four former Minneapolis police officers with civil rights violations in George Floyd's death, and accused three men of hate crimes in the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. In both criminal cases, authorities moved forward with federal charges before most of the defendants have gone to state trial.
Tuesday's indictment of Long by a Fulton County grand jury is regarding the deaths of Suncha Kim, 69, Soon Chung Park, 74, Hyun Jung Grant, 51, and Yong Ae Yue, 63, at two separate locations. A separate grand jury will decide on Long's involvement in Cherokee Country, where he allegedly killed Xiaojie "Emily" Tan, 49, Daoyou Feng, 44, Delaina Yaun, 33, and Paul Michels, 54.
Online records show that the hate crime charges are based on the actual or perceived race, national origin, and sex and gender. If Long is convicted of a crime, it is up to the jury to decide if it is a hate crime, which would add an additional penalty under Georgia's new hate crime law.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Biden signs anti-Asian hate crime bill marking 'significant break' in partisanship
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks Thursday ahead of Biden signing into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of Asian descent to hold the office, opened the signing ceremony by thanking lawmakers present for their work including Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., who introduced the bill. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, also received a nod from Biden for showing up to the ceremony which was dominated by Democrats. Without masks and social distancing, it was largest-scale event at the White House since the Biden administration began.
A prosecutor filed notice that she'll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty for Long.
The indictment charges Long with four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of domestic terrorism, according to online records.
It will be up to a separate grand jury in Cherokee County to decide on charges in the shooting at a spa near suburban Woodstock in which four were killed and one person was wounded.
Police have said Long shot and killed four people, three of them women and two of Asian descent, at Youngs Asian Massage near Woodstock just before 5 p.m. on March 16. He also shot and wounded a fifth person, investigators said.
He then drove about 30 miles south to Atlanta, where he shot and killed three women at Gold Spa before going across the street to Aromatherapy Spa and fatally shooting another woman, police said. All of the Atlanta victims were women of Asian descent.
'Horrible' weeks ahead as India's virus catastrophe worsens
NEW DELHI (AP) — COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis and a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible.” India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system.
After the shootings at the two Atlanta spas, Long got back into his car and headed south on the interstate, police said.
Long's parents called authorities to help after recognizing their son in still images from security video that the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office posted on social media. They provided cellphone information that allowed authorities to track their son to rural Crisp County, about 140 miles south of Atlanta.
State troopers and sheriff's deputies spotted his SUV on Interstate 75, and one of them forced Long to spin to a stop by bumping his vehicle. Long then surrendered to authorities.
In an initial interview with investigators, Long claimed to have a "sex addiction," and authorities said he apparently lashed out at businesses he viewed as a temptation. But those statements spurred outrage and widespread skepticism given the locations and that six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.
Bias incident survivors speak out about their journey to recovery
Survivors and psychologists discuss advice on how to heal emotionally from the trauma of experience a hate crime. The surveillance footage of the assault, which is being investigated as a hate crime, went viral.
62 House Republicans and Josh Hawley Voted Against Bill to Fight Asian American Hate Crime .
Speaker Pelosi said on the House floor: "The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill will strengthen our defenses against any anti-AAPI violence, speeding our response to hate crime."The legislation, which will now go to President Joe Biden's desk for approval, passed in the Senate last month in a rare nearly unanimous display of bipartisan cooperation. Biden has already intimated that he will sign the legislation into law.