A man was charged with hate crime on Monday after he had vandalized Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum with a sledgehammer last week.
The accused is Craig Milne, a 76-year-old man. On Thursday, September 14, Milne traveled to Seattle’s Chinatown International District and stood outside the Wing Luke Museum with a sledgehammer. Then, he started hitting the windows of the museum with the tool while tourists were still inside the building. He was arrested from the premises when the police arrived an hour later. Even during his arrest, he said that “the Chinese have tortured and tormented me for 14 years. I don’t regret anything I did here” as well as other racially biased statements.
On Friday, Milne’s bail was set at $30,000. On Monday, while hearing his case, court prosecutors said “The blatant racist motivations behind the defendant’s actions, the extreme nature of this property destruction, the disregard for individuals who were inside the building, and the lack of remorse gives the State significant community safety concerns.” As a result, he was charged with hate crime and first-degree malicious mischief (for destruction of museum property). This is also not Milne’s first brush with a hate crime. In 2013, he was arrested for allegedly punching an Asian man in the locker room, then throwing racial slurs at the Asian arresting offers.
Joël Barraquiel Tan (Director, Wing Luke Museum) widely denounced the attack, saying that “the attack and the damage, beyond the physical, was in part symbolic. It was targeted. It was planned.” In another interview, he said that the attack was only the latest in a long line of Asian hate crimes. It is worth noting that hate crimes against Asians have spiked since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.