FBI quietly releases extensive Vincent Chin file


The FBI discreetly released a 602-page file on Vincent Chin, a Chinese American draftsman whose infamous 1982 killing catalyzed Asian American activism and civil rights movements. The document, which was posted on June 20 and first reported by the Detroit Free Press, includes witness reports, FBI memos, letters, interviews and newspaper clippings, offering a comprehensive account of the case.

  • About the case: Chin died on June 23, 1982, after being struck with a baseball bat by Ronald Ebens in Highland Park, Michigan, four days earlier. The Justice Department launched an investigation into the case, examining whether racial discrimination laws were violated. Ebens was acquitted of civil rights charges after a retrial. This ignited protests over perceived lenient sentencing and anti-Asian sentiment in Detroit.

  • Conflicting accounts: The file features previously unseen documents, including eyewitness accounts of Chin’s final moments. Interviews reveal conflicting accounts of anti-Asian slurs during the incident, with some witnesses reporting hearing racial slurs and others claiming that Ebens showed no prejudice.

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