Rep. Judy Chu ‘concerned’ Atlanta spa suspect may not be charged with hate crime

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Rep. Judy Chu said on Sunday she was concerned that the suspect in a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas would not be charged with a hate crime after eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed.

Chu, a California Democrat who traveled to Georgia over the weekend with a congressional delegation to support a grieving Asian American community, said she planned to retrace the steps of the shooter, whose actions, she said, were racially motivated.

“It becomes clear to us, all three spas were Asian spas where there was a certainty that if he shot into them he was going to kill Asian women,” Chu said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And so to us, it is clear evidence that this is a hate crime.”

She called on the Justice Department to provide resources and fully investigate after expressing doubt that local authorities, who said the man they arrested in connection with the killings claimed to have a sex addiction, would handle the shootings as a hate crime.

“It should not have to fall on the Department of Justice, but let me tell you that our whole hate crimes system in the United States is quite flawed,” Chu said.

So far, federal investigators have not found evidence that would meet the high bar to charge the suspect with a hate crime, according to The Associated Press.

Georgia officials, however, have not ruled out charging him with a hate crime under a new state law passed last year, after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, sparked outrage across the country.

During a visit to Atlanta earlier this month, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would improve hate crime reporting and speed up the federal government’s response to hate crimes that have risen during the pandemic.

“Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit,” Biden said.” We have to speak out. We have to act.”

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