Year
1982
Month Day
June 19

Vincent Chin is murdered

Chinese American Vincent Chin, 27, is beaten in the head with a baseball bat by two white autoworkers in Detroit on June 19, 1982. Chin died in a hospital four days later, on June 23. 

During his bachelor party at a club on the night of June 19, Chin and three friends were signaled out by Ronald Ebens, 43, and Michael Nitz, 23, his stepson, according to NBC News, who, witnesses said, blamed the men for being out of work because of car imports from Japan. Following a fight, Ebens and Nitz searched for the group, finding them at a McDonald's, where Ebens used a baseball bat to smash Chin in the head while Nitz held him down.

Convicted of manslaughter in a plea deal, Ebens and Nitz were sentenced to three years probation and a $3,000 fine with no jail time. The verdict lead to outrage and protests in the Asian American community. Kin Yee, the president of the Detroit Chinese Welfare Council, called the sentence "a license to kill for $3,000, provided you have a steady job or are a student and the victim is Chinese,'' according to The New York Times.

Ebens was later found guilty in a civil rights trial (Nitz was acquitted), but the verdict was overturned on appeal. In a second civil rights trial in 1987, Ebens was again found not guilty. In a 1987 civil suit, Ebens was ordered to pay $1.5 million and Nitz was ordered to pay $50,000 to Chin's estate. While Nitz paid the amount, Ebens' share was left unpaid. 

READ MORE: How the 1982 Murder of Vincent Chin Ignited a Push for Asian American Rights

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