Duckworth: Atlanta shootings look 'racially motivated'

Duckworth: Atlanta shootings look 'racially motivated'
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Biden administration expands Afghan refugee program | Culture war comes for female draft registration | US launches third Somalia strike in recent weeks Overnight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday said that she thought the deadly shootings in Atlanta last week that left eight people dead, including six Asian American women, appear to be “racially motivated."

Duckworth, the first Thai American member of Congress, appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” where host Margaret Brennan asked her if she disagreed with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has said it is unclear if the shooter was targeting Asian Americans.

“Well, from where I sit, I want to see a deeper investigation into whether or not these shootings and other similar crimes are racially motivated. It looks racially motivated to me, but I'm not, you know, I'm not a police officer. I'm not investigating the crimes,” Duckworth said.

Duckworth said that she has called for deeper investigations into crimes involving Asian Americans to ascertain if certain incidents have incorrectly not been classified as hate crimes.

“We know that crimes against Asian Americans that have been categorized as hate crimes have increased by over 150 percent in our nation's major cities, that's over 3800 additional crimes last year,” Duckworth said. “But we also know that many of these crimes go under-reported as hate crimes that are just classified as a mugging or harassment or vandalism when they really, they were targeted at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in particular.”

Brennan asked Duckworth what more the FBI could be doing to combat the rising anti-Asian violence, noting that the agency already had a Civil Rights Division designed for these types of crimes.

"Well they do but the problem is the crimes often are not reported as a hate crime, or race motivated crime at the scene with the local police officers because people just don't see Asian Americans as a minority group that gets attacked on a regular basis," Duckworth responded. "Now if you're Asian American like me and my family, you know it happens on a regular basis, but oftentimes these crimes just get reported in some other way."