A 56-year-old Indiana woman already facing attempted murder charges after being accused of repeatedly stabbing an 18-year-old Indiana University student of Chinese descent in the head on a bus was charged with federal hate crimes for racially motivated attacks, authorities said this week.
Billie Davis was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Jan. 11 attack, charging her with knowingly inflicting bodily harm on the victim and attempting to do so by means of a knife because of the victim’s race and national origin, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release Thursday. The indictment also alleges the offense included an attempt to kill the victim, officials said.
The victim told investigators she was waiting for the exit doors to open on a Bloomington Transit bus when another passenger began punching her in the head, Bloomington police said in a release.
The attack happened on January 11 at 4:45 p.m. on a Bloomington Transit bus, the Bloomington Police Department said in a news release.
She told investigators a passenger struck her repeatedly in the head, causing “immediate pain” as she stood waiting for the bus doors to open at her stop, officials said.
Bus surveillance footage showed the suspect and victim had no interaction before the attack, police said.
After the attack, the suspect got off the bus but was eventually arrested after a witness followed the suspect and told police where she was, authorities said.
Davis was sentenced to prison for violence. She was charged with attempted murder after doctors determined that the victim had been stabbed several times in the head, the police said.
Davis reportedly told investigators she did it for her “being Chinese” and this “would be one less person to blow up our country.”
NBC News reported that her public defender in the Indiana case, Kyle Dugger, said she has a history of severe mental illness and was hallucinating in jail after her arrest.
“I would caution the public not to draw conclusions about a person’s thoughts or beliefs based on police claims from a single interview and advise even more caution when the interview is from someone in custody who is experiencing psychosis,” Dugger said, reported the network. .
After the attack, James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs at Indiana University, said the case was a sad reminder that “anti-Asian hatred is real and can have painful consequences for individuals and our society.”
“No one should be subject to harassment or violence because of their background, ethnicity or heritage,” he said. “Instead, the Bloomington and IU communities are stronger because of the great diversity of identities and perspectives that make up our campus and community culture. To our Asian and Asian American friends, colleagues, students and neighbors, we stand with you.”
The university’s Asian Culture Center held an emergency meeting following news of the attack. Some students expressed concern for their safety. Others recalled times they witnessed or experienced racial discrimination while riding the bus.
“We should not fear for our lives on public transport,” the center said in a statement. “Taking the bus shouldn’t feel dangerous.
“The fact that the perpetrator announced that race was the motivation for her attack sends a shockwave through our Asian community.”
Law&Crime’s Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
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