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Utah police investigating letter to some Asian Americans as hate crime | #College. | #Students | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


The weekend after a series of shootings at Atlanta-area massage businesses left eight dead, including six of Asian descent, some Asian Americans in the Salt Lake Valley received letters threatening their lives.

The typed and printed notes celebrated the killings in Georgia and blamed Asian people for the pandemic, saying they “need to go back to their countries” before more are killed.

“Spread the word or you may die,” the letter reads.

A letter sent to some homes of Asian Americans in the Salt Lake Valley contains threats and blames Asian people for the pandemic.
Dan Watkins

Police in Taylorsville are investigating the notes as a hate crime, while those who received them and others in Utah’s Asian communities are staying inside and trying to keep family members as safe as possible.

“I feel unsafe in my own home,” said a Salt Lake Valley resident originally from Vietnam. She asked that her name be withheld because she fears reprisals from whoever sent the letters. “It’s hard to have a conversation with my friends and my family and tell each other, ‘Let’s try not to go out that much until the police make some progress.’”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, condemned the “disturbing attempt to intimidate and harass the Asian American community in Utah” and urged elected leaders in Utah to do the same in a Wednesday statement.

After telling colleagues at Forethought, the Lehi-based software company, she’s been encouraged by support from employees across its ranks, with its president denouncing the threats and calling for justice.

“How the entire company’s behind us means a lot,” she said. But fear remains a constant.

She’s made sure to stay inside over the past two weeks, and has brought her white fiancé on rare trips to the store. While she hasn’t received any of the threats, others she knows have. At least four households in the valley, including in Taylorsville and West Valley City, have opened identical notes they found either at their doorsteps or in the mailbox, she said.

Dustin Watkins, DataBased co-founder, shows a copy of a hate letter that his brother’s Asian employee received, at Kiln, a co-working space where Watkins has an office, in Lehi on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Watkins, who is Filipino, has heard of multiple Asian people in Utah receiving hate letters recently.

Dustin Watkins, DataBased co-founder, shows a copy of a hate letter that his brother’s Asian employee received, at Kiln, a co-working space where Watkins has an office, in Lehi on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Watkins, who is Filipino, has heard of multiple Asian people in Utah receiving hate letters recently.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Home security cameras have failed to capture anyone dropping them off, and the notes, ending in “666,” have no return address.

Those factors have made it harder for detectives to track down a suspect, said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler.

“Right now, we have zero to go on,” Cutler said, urging anyone else who has information or who’s received the threats to report them.

“Especially serious crimes like this, this is a big deal,” Cutler continued. “If we have multiple people that are receiving the same letter, it’s likely coming form an individual or small group of individuals, and taking care of it before it becomes a bigger problem is the goal.”



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