After Atlanta Massacre, U.S. Lawmakers Push for Hate Crime Charges

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Congresswoman Judy Chu, a Democrat from California, is calling on authorities to lay hate crimes charges in relation to the deadly assault on spas in the Atlanta area this month, as a group of legislators visited the US city to pay tribute to the victims of the shooting rampage, reports Aljazeera. Experts have said getting a hate crimes conviction in the case will be more complicated than simply convicting the suspect of murder, however, as prosecutors will need to prove his intent.

But Asian-American community members have said unequivocally that anti-Asian racism, as well as misogyny, played a role in the killings – and calls to charge the suspect with hate crimes are growing. The alleged gunman has been charged with murder, as well as malice murder – an offence in the US state of Georgia alleging implied or express malice – and aggravated assault. Anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in 16 of the largest US cities increased by 145 percent in 2020, according to preliminary data released this month by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

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