Lieu has previously raised concerns about patterns of discrimination against Asian Americans
June 29, 2016
LOS ANGELES – U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) Wednesday commended the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for mandating department-wide implicit bias training for all of its law enforcement agents and prosecutors.
Lieu has previously raised concerns about patterns of discrimination by the Department of Justice against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
“Over the years, multiple Americans who happened to be of Asian descent—including Sherry Chen and Professor Xiaoxing Xi—have been arrested and indicted by DOJ for alleged espionage only to have all the charges dropped,” Lieu said in a statement.
“The common thread in every one of these cases was a defendant with a Chinese surname—and an innocent life that was unnecessarily turned upside down. I have repeatedly expressed my concerns directly to the Attorney General, and I hope this much-needed bias training will prevent future instances of innocent Americans being wrongfully targeted and arrested on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin,” said Lieu, whose parents were immigrants from Taiwan.
“I look forward to reviewing the training materials and DOJ’s progress in due time,” Lieu said.
“Based on this implicit admission by DOJ that there has been implicit bias among law enforcement agents and prosecutors, I once again call on the DOJ Inspector General to finally conduct independent investigations into how the DOJ got it so wrong in these cases involving Americans who happened to be of Asian descent,” Lieu concluded in his statement.
On May 21, 2015, Lieu led over 20 of his House Democratic colleagues on a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting an investigation into whether race and national origin were factors in the case of Sherry Chen, a Federal employee with the National Weather Service who was arrested on suspicion of espionage.
Earlier in May, all charges against Ms. Chen were abruptly dismissed. Beyond Ms. Chen’s case, Congressman Lieu and his colleagues were seeking answers from Attorney General Lynch about whether race, national origin, religion or gender are being used by Federal agencies in targeting Federal employees.