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On Anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shootings, Jennifer H. Wu Discusses Challenges in Prosecuting Hate Crimes With CNN.com
March 16, 2022
Litigation partner Jennifer H. Wu was quoted in a CNN article, “Assaulted. Harassed. This is the Reality For Asian Americans a Year After the Atlanta Spa Shootings.” The article was published on March 16, the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shooting rampage that left eight dead, including Asian-American women from China and Korea. The article highlights the surge in anti-Asian violence, including the murder of GuiYing Ma, a 62-year-old Queens resident who died after an unprovoked attack. Jennifer and other members of the Paul, Weiss team are involved in the pro bono representation of Mrs. Ma’s family.
Jennifer discussed the challenges of reaching a hate crime conviction in cases like the Atlanta shooting and Mrs. Ma’s attack. New York, like Georgia, has a hate crime penalty-enhancement law, requiring the bias to be the “whole or substantial factor” motivating an attack—a very high standard that “requires you to get into the mind of the perpetrator,” especially as there is often more than one contributing factor, Jennifer notes. The law “force[s] people to choose one reason why the hate crime is committed,” as it “is not structured in a way that acknowledges the reality that the reason we love and hate people is for a multitude of reasons and not a single exclusive reason.”
The article also highlights the case against the Atlanta spa shooter Robert Aaron Long, which is expected to be the first test of the hate crimes law passed by the Georgia Legislature following the deadly shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. Robert Peterson, the son of shooting victim Yong Ae Yue, also discusses the loss of his mother and his fight for justice on behalf of the Asian-American community.