Vincent Chin died on June 23, 1982.
Thirty-five years ago today in Detroit, four nights after being severely beaten in the head with a baseball bat, Vincent Chin died. The case would become a seminal rallying point for the Asian American community. And tonight, concerned community members plan to gather for a vigil outside the home of Chin's killer.
For those unfamiliar with the case: Chin was out at a strip club celebrating his bachelor party when he got into a fight with a couple of disgruntled auto industry workers, Ronald Evens and his stepson Michael Nitz. Witnesses say they heard Ebens yell "It's because of you little motherfuckers that we're out of work!" — referring to U.S. auto jobs being lost to Japanese manufacturers. Vincent Chin was Chinese American.
The fight was broken up, but Ebens and Nitz weren't finished. They searched for Chin outside the club, tracked him down to a McDonald's and attacked him. Nitz held Chin in a bear hug while Evens repeatedly bludgeoned him with a baseball bat until his head cracked open. Vincent fell into a coma and died on June 23, 1982.
NPR's Morning Edition aired a Story Corps interview Vincent Chin's best friend, Gary Koivu, who talks about his lifelong friendship with Vincent and hauntingly recounts the night he witnessed his murder.