The Filipino Migrant Center held a demonstration on June 17 in Van Nuys demanding that Nicholas Weber be prosecuted for attacking the Roque family in North Hollywood.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA), which represents over 800 deputy district attorneys who work for Los Angeles County, issued the following statement on June 29.

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George Gascón’s continued refusal to hold criminals accountable has repeatedly resulted in deadly consequences for residents of Los Angeles County. For Asian residents, this subversion of the criminal justice system has resulted in tragedies such as the murder of Dal Kuen Lee.

Dal Kuen Lee is the latest Asian victim of Gascón’s policies, randomly stabbed in the neck and killed on May 5, 2022, while sitting in his work truck in South L.A. The defendant, Keonte Woods, is a known violent criminal, having been arrested the previous week for an unprovoked attempted stabbing of another Asian man near USC.

In that prior case, Woods tried to stab the Asian victim in the neck. The victim’s hand was sliced as he tried to protect himself. Yet, because of Gascón’s policies, felony charges requested by LAPD were rejected, and the case was referred to the city attorney for misdemeanor charges. Only after Mr. Lee was murdered did the DA reclaim the case and file felony charges for the first knife attack by Mr. Woods.

Sadly, the murder of Dal Kuen Lee is not the only recent example of anti-Asian hate. Nicholas Weber was arrested this month for assaulting and harassing a Filipino family at a McDonald’s drive-through in May.

“Filipinos will not stay quiet while our community suffers the pain of anti-Asian hate and attacks. As Asian Americans, we must take a stand for justice and demand more than dialogues and empty promises. The Roque family is now facing the possibility that their attacker, Nicholas Weber, will be released on July 11. They should not have to live in fear that what happened to them will happen again. They should not have to continue to experience justice delayed. District Attorney Gascón’s words mean nothing to the community unless they are backed up by action — we need to see firm leadership that takes anti-Asian hate crimes seriously, and that includes timely prosecution of Nicholas Weber,” said Katie Joaquin of the Filipino Migrant Center.

“Other prosecution offices have had to step in to fill the void caused by Gascon’s policies,” said Eric Siddall, vice president of the ADDA. For example, Steve Lee Dominguez was caught on camera driving through protesters at a “Stop Asian Hate” rally. When no charges were filed by Gascón, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California secured a federal grand jury indictment against Dominguez on two counts of bias-motivated interference with federally protected activities.

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  1. Comment by Gerald Masahiro Sato

    Rafu Shimpo decided to publish an editorial authored by Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA), the collective bargaining unit for attorneys employed by the District Attorney of Los Angeles, which actively seeks the recall of District Attorney George Gascon. In publishing it, Rafu Shimpo remained responsible for independently verifying the facts stated in the piece.

    There are two statements of facts which Rafu Shimpo could easily have discovered are incorrect.

    The article blames policies adopted by Gascon for the release of a suspect in a “knife attack” against an Asian American shortly before the same suspect killed Dal Kuen Lee. However, as the Los Angeles Times reported, “Prosecutors said they used the same ‘threshold’ for determining what constitutes a felony assault as under previous administrations. They said the D.A.’s office ‘could only charge the assault as a felony if Mr. Woods used force likely to produce great bodily injury or used a deadly weapon.’ At the time, they said, they ‘did not believe the evidence was sufficient to establish [the hairpins] were used or intended to be used as deadly weapons.'” That is, charging Woods with a misdemeanor for the sharpened hairpin attack was not a decision peculiar to Gascon’s administration.

    The editorial also falsely states that Nicholas Weber, charged with battery/serious bodily injury for his attack against Gabriel Roque could be released at a hearing scheduled for July 11th. Rafu Shimpo could easily have reviewed the online calendar of the Court and discovered that on July 11 Weber is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges, that there are also hearings scheduled for the revocation of probation stemming from other convictions. Rafu Shimpo could have accessed the Los Angeles Superior Court’s calendar online and recognized that the nature of hearings scheduled for July 11 was misrepresented. Release does not appear to be part of the agenda that day.

    Readers of the Rafu Shimpo are rightly concerned over the ongoing epidemic of violent crime against Asian Americans. The issue of how the District Attorney’s office has responded is a matter which Rafu Shimpo can address. Nonetheless, the editorial does not describe any policy or decision by George Gascon which can reasonably be interpreted as leading to an increase in anti-Asian crime. No facts are described which could possibly establish the editorial’s contention that “George Gascón’s continued refusal to hold criminals accountable has repeatedly resulted in deadly consequences for residents of Los Angeles County.”

    Even though Rafu Shimpo historically has never taken an editorial position on any public issue, the newspaper is not for that reason absolved from responsibility for the statements of fact asserted in opinion pieces submitted by others. I note that the same ADDA opinion piece appeared in several publications, but even the circulation of a piece is still no excuse for not verifying facts. Perhaps Rafu Shimpo could have printed a proviso that it had not verified the facts asserted in the piece, but the easier and better practice would have been not to publish it to begin with.

  2. That’s proof of DA Gascon’s inactions and stupidities. With the deck stacked against DA George Gascon…this is all the more reasons of why we as citizens of Los Angeles of why we need to recall and get rid of DA George Gascon immediately (I mean like) right now. We will oust Gascon soon!!
    Sincerely, Steven M. Wakimoto
    July 5, 2022

  3. Rafu Shimpo decided to publish an editorial authored by a group of Deputy District Attorneys of Los Angeles actively seeking the recall of District Attorney George Gascon. In publishing the editorial, Rafu Shimpo remained responsible for independently verifying the facts stated in the piece.

    There are two statements of facts which Rafu Shimpo could easily discovered are incorrect. The article blames policies adopted by Gascon for the release of a suspect in a “knife attack” against an Asian American shortly before the same suspect killed Dal Kuen Lee. However, as the Los Angeles Times reported, “Prosecutors said they used the same ‘threshold’ for determining what constitutes a felony assault as under previous administrations. They said the D.A.’s office ‘could only charge the assault as a felony if Mr. Woods used force likely to produce great bodily injury or used a deadly weapon.’ At the time, they said, they ‘did not believe the evidence was sufficient to establish [the hairpins] were used or intended to be used as deadly weapons.'” That is, charging Woods with a misdemeanor for the sharpened hairpin attack was not a decision peculiar to Gascon’s administration.

    The editorial also falsely states that Nicholas Weber, charged with battery/serious bodily injury for his attack against Gabriel Roque could be released at a hearing scheduled for July 11th. Rafu Shimpo could easily have reviewed the online calendar of the Court and discovered that on July 11 Weber is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges, that there are also hearings scheduled for the revocation of probation stemming from other convictions. Release does not appear to be part of the agenda that day.

    Readers of the Rafu Shimpo are rightly concerned over the ongoing epidemic of violent crime against Asian Americans. All the more for that reason Rafu Shimpo owes its readers accuracy when anything appearing in its pages purports to state facts. Historically Rafu Shimpo does not take editorial positions on any public issue, but that does not relieve it from not verifying assertions of fact.