A blog in today’s Detroit News by Neil Rubin challenged the very core of the Vincent Chin story–that he was beaten by unemployed autoworkers because he was mistaken for Japanese at a time when Japanese automakers were being blamed for unemployment in the US auto industry.
“The story makes all the sense in the world,” says Tim Kiska, who covered the case as a reporter and is now a journalism professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “But it didn’t happen that way.”
Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz never spent a day in prison for that killing despite three trials and both having plead guilty to manslaughter.
Kiska largely discredits the testimony of a stripper who witnessed the attack and testified the Ebens said to Chin , “It’s because of you (bleeps) we’re out of work.”
It’s unfortunate that Kiska feels this way. He speaks as if his opinion is gospel. He seems to think his observations are more credible than the investigation of federal prosecutors who twice tried Ebens and Nitz on civil rights charges. You don’t get brought up on charges like that unless prosecutors have strong reason to believe race was involved.
All this took place at a time when Asian Americans lacked both the numbers and power to pressure the feds to do really anything. It’s unfortunate Kiska has allowed his stereotypical view of a stripper to cloud his judgment.
Yes, prosecutors aren’t always right. But it takes a lot to move a mountain–a mountain of evidence.