In a response letter to protests from American Citizens for Justice, Kaufman said, "These weren't the kind of men you send to jail... You don't make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal. Eventually, the national body of the National Lawyers Guild endorsed its efforts. In particular, the top federal prosecutor for eastern Michigan was skeptical that the government could prove such elements here. It is disputed whether Ebens uttered other racial slurs.. Vincent Chin graduated from Oak Park High School in 1973, going on to study at Control Data Institute. The power of ''Who Killed Vincent Chin?'' Ronald Ebens was ordered to pay $1.5 million, at $200/month for the first two years and 25% of his income or $200/month thereafter, whichever was greater. Vincent wasn't Japanese. "Later, we were outside and [one of the men] went straight to the car and pulled out a baseball bat, and started racing toward Vincent," Koivu says. If two Chinese killed a white person, they must go to jail, maybe for their whole lives... Something is wrong with this country. , After a retrial that was moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, due to the publicity the case had received in Detroit, a jury cleared Ebens of all charges in 1987.  After Vincent Chin's death, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz were charged with second-degree murder. In the case of a transcript of a film or television episode, ideally it is a verbatim record. The local Michigan American Civil Liberties Union and the Detroit chapter of the National Lawyers Guild did not see the connection between civil rights and Chin's death. The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. ARW is based at St. Paul, Minnesota, with staff journalists in Washington, D.C., Duluth, M.N., San Francisco, C.A., and Los Angeles. After his death 35 years ago, the federal case against Ebens and Nitz was the first time the Civil Rights Act was used in a case involving an Asian-American victim. , The lenient sentence led to a vocal outcry from Asian-Americans. Vincent Chin Case and Aftermath 1983-1989 [series] (0.5 linear feet) . , The attack was considered a hate crime by many, but it predated the passage of hate crime laws in the United States. University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States, Anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States, History of the Chinese Americans in Metro Detroit, "Vincent Chin murder 35 years later: History repeating itself? Defendant's Requested Jury Instruction No. Courtesy of American Citizens for Justice/Asian American Center for Justice, We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020, First-Ever Tracker Of Hate Crimes Against Asian-Americans Launched. Chin ran, but Koivu says the men found Chin and attacked him. The federal government and many states, including Michigan, have enacted laws that give victims more opportunity to be heard at sentencing hearings. Voila! In June 1982, Vincent Chin was killed by a white man who never spent a full day in jail for the crime. Create an account and get 24 hours access for free. Partial transcripts from Who Killed Vincent Chin? , Chin was interred in Detroit's Forest Lawn Cemetery. 8888888 8888888 | v2.5.2 Use one of the film’s accompanying resources to learn about the issues and get involved. Vincent Chin died on June 23, 1982. Copyright © 1995–2020 American Documentary, Inc. |, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe. Ebens and Nitz assailed Chin following a brawl that took place at a strip club in Highland Park, Michigan, where Chin had been celebrating his bachelor party with friends in advance of his upcoming wedding. Ultimately, the jury did not find that the government had proved the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This ruling was just wrong — even the government later conceded that the judge’s ruling was incorrect, and three appellate judges concluded “unanimously” that Ebens’ conviction had to be overturned as a result of this error. Chin died 35 years ago, and his death became a rallying cry for stronger federal hate crime legislation. This happened because my son is Chinese. An argument broke out between him and Ron Ebens, a Chrysler Motors foreman. Courtesy of American Citizens for Justice/Asian American Center for Justice PARTs 1 and 2 Director: Renee Tajima- Pena and Christine Choy. Seventh and finally, it is important to put the tragic killing of Vincent Chin into some statistical context. Notably, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in 2018 that it had prosecuted more than 300 people for hate-crimes offenses in the preceding 10 years. 209–211. Chink, foreign car part, big fucker, little fucker, all fuckers, don’t call me a fucker, we all remember our lines, okay?”. There are also new federal laws that make it easier for the federal government to bring civil-rights cases against people like Ebens. Defendant's Requested Jury Instruction No. Museum of Chinese in America. Hing) and Lily Chin (née Yee) (simplified Chinese: 陈余琼芳; traditional Chinese: 陳余瓊芳; pinyin: Chén Yú Qióngfāng). Press enter to open the dropdown list, then press tab and enter to choose the language. At the time of his death, he was employed as an industrial draftsman at Efficient Engineering, an automotive supplier, as well as working weekends as a waiter at the former Golden Star restaurant in Ferndale, Michigan. 30. StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. "That was like a punch in the gut," Koivu says. U.S. vs. Ebens transcript, Tuesday, June 19, 1984, pp. , At first, only a new group called the American Citizens for Justice (ACJ) lent its support to the theory that existing civil rights laws should be applied to Asian Americans. The power of ''Who Killed Vincent Chin?'' Gary Koivu and his wife Kim came to StoryCorps to talk about Koivu's friend Vincent Chin. Moreover, hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans is rare compared to other types of hate crimes. Collection, Museum of Chinese in America. Vincent Jen Chin (陳果仁; May 18, 1955 – June 23, 1982) was a Chinese-American draftsman who was beaten to death by two white men, Chrysler plant supervisor Ronald Ebens and his stepson, laid-off autoworker Michael Nitz. "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" ''Vincent Who?'' He died of his injuries four days later. According to reports, U.S. Attorney Leonard F. Gilman wrote in a 1983 letter that he had “serious questions about the success of any criminal prosecution under the federal civil rights statutes.” Gilman reportedly wrote that the fight “does not appear to be any different than many interracial bar altercations.”. However, the estate of Vincent Chin would not be allowed to garnish social security, disability, or Ebens' pension from Chrysler, nor could the estate place a lien on Ebens' house. In 2018, there were more than 10 times as many hate-crime incidents against African-Americans and more than 5 times as many hate-crime incidents against Jews or against gay men or lesbians. ", recounts the murder and its aftermath, the Detroit auto industry, the American justice system, and the Asian American community.  Journalist Helen Zia and lawyer Liza Chan (traditional Chinese: 陳綽薇; simplified Chinese: 陈绰薇; pinyin: Chén Chuòwēi) led the fight for federal charges, which resulted in the two murderers being accused of two counts of violating Chin's civil rights, under section 245 of title 18 of the United States Code. "He said to Vincent, 'Because of little mother f****** like you, a lot of Americans are losing their jobs.' 20 Linear Feet (12 archival boxes and 12 oversize objects) : 12 linear feet of audio recordings; magazines and journals; newspapers; paper documents; and videocassettes. Nevertheless, during a 1998 House of Representatives hearing on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1997, Congressman John Conyers, who is an African American, suggested that the problem with making people sufficiently aware of the causes and injustices of Chin's case was that it was a political "hot potato" that did not get picked up for "political reasons", with respect to the automobile industry. hide caption. Lenient sentencing for the two men resulted in a public outcry from the Asian American community, who charged them in a federal civil rights case. “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” Directors: Christine Choy, Renee Tajima-Pena (1987, 87 minutes) This documentary film recounts the murder of Vincent Chin, an automotive engineer mistaken as Japanese who was slain by an assembly line worker who blamed him for competition by Japanese auto makers that threatend his job. , The fight which would lead to the murder of Vincent Chin started at The Fancy Pants Club, when Chin took umbrage at a remark that Ebens made to a stripper who had just finished dancing at Chin's table (Chin was having a bachelor party, as he was to be married eight days later). This would have been easier to prove than the charges that could be brought in the 1980s, and it would have made it easier to get a conviction. Vincent Chin, a Chinese American engineer, was murdered by white autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, in the Detroit suburb of Highland Park, Michigan, in June 1982. When it’s a federal prosecution, h’m, we’re all going to have to be agreeing on this is what happened … We all remember our different lines, okay. Hearing", "Asian Americans and the Perpetual Foreigner Syndrome", "Plaque commemorating Vincent Chin case erected in Ferndale > Washtenaw County Legal News", "Multicultural Studies: Who Killed Vincent Chin? 31. After Lily suffered a miscarriage in 1949 and was unable to have children, the couple adopted Vincent from a Chinese orphanage in 1961. Gary Koivu and his wife Kim came to StoryCorps to talk about Koivu's friend Vincent Chin. Murder is typically not a federal crime and can be prosecuted under federal law only in connection with another crime and if the government can prove additional elements, such as a defendant’s intent to prohibit a victim from enjoying a place of public accommodation because of the victim’s race. Fourth, a new trial was held in 1987 but was very different from the first trial. His killers, however, were let off with a $3,000 fine.