A 76-year-old man, Craig Milne, has been charged with a hate crime after allegedly smashing the windows of Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum. The incident occurred last Thursday when Milne used a sledgehammer to shatter the museum’s glass windows and made racially biased comments while visitors were inside. The museum, located in Seattle’s Chinatown International District, focuses on the culture, art, and history of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
Witnesses reported hearing Milne making statements such as “the Chinese ruined my life” after he smashed through the windows along Canton Alley South. Seattle Police Department officers arrived nearly an hour later and took Milne into custody. Court documents reveal that Milne claimed “the Chinese have tortured and tormented me for 14 years” and expressed no regret for his actions.
Milne has been charged with a hate crime and one count of malicious mischief. This is not the first time he has been involved in racially motivated incidents. In 2013, he was arrested for assaulting an Asian man in a locker room, during which he shouted racial slurs and fought with officers.
The Wing Luke Museum expressed gratitude for the community’s support and stated that they will not be deterred in their mission despite the racial motivation of the attack. The museum spokesperson also highlighted the delayed 911 response, with police allegedly taking 52 minutes to arrive at the scene.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell condemned the attack, acknowledging the lasting psychological impact it will have on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The incident adds to the rising number of hate crimes and attacks targeting Asian people and communities since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milne’s bail was set at $30,000, and he appeared in court last Friday. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been contacted for additional information on the case.