SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — The Sacramento Police Department has opened a hate crime investigation after a man left a dead cat in the parking lot of a Chinese-American business near 6400 Florin-Perkins Road.
The man, reportedly a customer who had purchased from the Mad Bucher Meats Co. just moments prior, was caught on camera placing a box filled with the dead cat in the parking lot of the business.
“Based on information gathered, this incident will be investigated as a bias/hate-related crime,” said department spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Brigg. “If anybody has any information regarding this incident they are urged to contact the Sacramento Police Department.”
Kelly Shum is the co-owner of the Mad Butcher Meats Co. Her parents, who are Chinese immigrants, founded the business in 1989. She says the family has dealt with racism over the years, but never anything like this.
“How hateful do you have to be to do something like that,” Shum said.
Shum says anti-Asian sentiments have ramped up in the last year. She was so concerned about potential attacks that she hired security. She says she has tried to “tone down” how Chinese the family business looks and has removed cultural items to prevent being targeted.
Sacramento City Councilmember Mai Vang issued a statement in response to the alleged hate crime:
“Attacks on Asian Americans are on the rise across the nation and, unfortunately, Sacramento must also confront this xenophobia,” Vang said in a statement. “The crime committed against the owners of the Mad Butcher Meat Company on Monday night was horrific and this reprehensible act must be strongly condemned.”
Asian American’s have increasingly begun reporting harassment and even violent attacks from coast to coast, especially in urban areas like San Francisco, New York City, and Oakland.
Dr. Timothy Fong is a professor of ethnic studies at California State University Sacramento who has studied these attacks. He says anti-Asian sentiment and racism have always existed in America but have recently ramped up.
That is being attributed to the rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, which was first reported in China. Former President Donald Trump placed blame on China for causing the pandemic and commonly referred to coronavirus as the “China virus.”
Sacramento has not had many publicized reports of attacks on Asian American’s since a bout of racially motivated attacks against Asians in South Sacramento since 2016. Sacramento Police and the Sheriff’s Department netted more than 35 arrests that year for violent crimes against Asian Americans.
“Sadly, it’s filtered into our region,” Fong said.
Now, that the election is over, Fong says the continued and perhaps increasing attacks on Asians is very concerning.
“It is very clear that deep-seated sentiments are dangerous and are still there,” Fong said. “It is not simply that’s just going to go away.”
He says immigrants are often less likely to report crimes because they are concerned about bringing more attention to themselves, challenged by language barriers, and fear that nothing will come of reporting it.
To prevent future attacks, Fong says we must take the issue head-on. Anyone who is a victim of a racially motivated crime must report it and the community should be there to support the victims.