According to court documents and a student organization, the suspect in an unprovoked attack said she was motivated by racism when she repeatedly stabbed the victim, an Asian student at Indiana University, last week on a city bus.
Billie Davis, 56, a White woman, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, and battery with a deadly weapon in connection with the attack on January 11 in Bloomington, according to court documents obtained by CNN affiliate WTHR. This appears to be the latest uptick in anti-Asian discrimination nationwide. It wasn’t immediately apparent if she had legal representation.
A probable cause affidavit claims that Davis and the victim had been sitting apart on the bus when the victim attempted to leave. Davis allegedly got up from her seat and stabbed the victim in the skull with a folding knife, creating puncture wounds.
According to the affidavit, Davis eventually admitted stabbing the woman because she was Chinese, claiming “it would be one less person to blow up our country.” According to the report, Davis exited the bus after being stabbed, made her way outside, and threw the knife away before help could arrive. According to the paperwork, the victim was taken in a medical emergency; her status is unknown.
The document claims that no confrontation between Davis and the victim was shown on the bus’ surveillance tape before the attack. The attack, which coincides with an uptick in reported harassment and assaults against Asian Americans due to the Covid-19 outbreak, has been denounced by city and university leaders.
According to a study from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, reported hate crimes against Asians in just the first three months of 2021 increased by 164% over the same period last year in 16 of the biggest cities and counties in the country.
Prosecutors are pursuing hate crimes based on the victims’ s*x and race in the deadly shootings of eight individuals in 2021, predominantly Asian women, at spas in the Atlanta region. This case may be the most well-known example. Last week in New York City, a man admitted to manslaughter as a hate crime.
He was sentenced to 22 years in prison for attacking a Chinese-American man in April 2021, while a second man admitted to first-degree manslaughter and was given 20 years in jail for hitting a Chinese woman with a rock in the same year.
The mayor of Bloomington condemned hate-based violence after last week’s bus attack, admitting that “racially motivated incidents like these… might leave us feeling less protected.” On Saturday, John Hamilton issued a statement saying, “We stand with the Asian community and all who feel intimidated by this event.”
James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equality, and multicultural affairs at Indiana University, said the incident served as a wake-up call to the community that “anti-Asian bigotry is real and can have severe repercussions on individuals and our community.”
“To our Asian and Asian American friends, coworkers, students, and neighbors, we stand solidly with you,” Wimbush said. “No one should endure harassment or violence due to their background, ethnicity, or heritage.” In a statement, the Indiana University Asian Culture Center stated that it was “outraged and devastated by this unwarranted act of violence” and that the victim was an Asian student who was 18 years old.
“We shouldn’t worry about our safety while using public transportation. There shouldn’t be any danger when using the bus. The center stated that “the perpetrator’s admission that racism was the driving force behind her attack sends a jolt through our Asian community.” But the jolt is starting to feel routine.
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