Looking down the main staircase of the Wing Luke Asian Museum, East Kong Yick Building • Photo by Joe Mabel

A man who attacked the Wing Luke Museum with a sledgehammer Thursday, Sept. 14 was charged yesterday with a hate crime and first-degree malicious mischief, the Seattle Times reported. According to charging documents, the man, Craig Milne, 76, caused over $100,000 worth of property damage when he smashed nine of the museum’s ten windows that evening. 

On Friday, Milne’s bail was set at $30,000, and he stayed in King County Jail through Monday.

Milne attacked the museum after 5 p.m. on Thursday while visitors were inside for an after-hours tour. Stanley Shikuma was with the Japanese American immigrant and refugee advocacy group Tsuru for Solidarity on an after-hours tour when he witnessed the attack. 

Shikuma told the International Examiner on Friday that during the attack, Milne said “‘the Chinese are to blame, they’ve ruined my life. Something has to be done about them. That’s why I came to Chinatown. Because I’m going to take care of it.’”

Community leaders, including Joël Barraquiel Tan, executive director of the Wing Luke Museum, were concerned about a slow response from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after the incident. At one point, the 911 dispatcher told callers from the Wing Luke Museum to stop calling 911, according to Tan.

In a statement posted to the department’s blog, SPD acknowledged that a 911 caller at 5:22 p.m. reported a man yelling racial slurs and smashing the Wing Luke Museum windows with a sledgehammer. However, police were not dispatched until 6:03 p.m., SPD said, and officers only arrived at 6:14 p.m. The blog said the reason was “due to staffing constraints and call volume.”

“SPD will continue to work with our City and community partners to support the CID and AAPI communities,” reads SPD’s statement.

The Seattle Times found that Milne was previously arrested for an alleged hate crime in 2013, in which he repeatedly punched an Asian man in a locker room at the Spartan Recreation Center in Shoreline. Milne was charged with fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest, but the charges were dismissed in 2015, the Times reported.Milne’s arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 2 at the King County Courthouse, the Times reported.

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