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Vincent Chin Timeline

June 19, 1982:  On the evening of his bachelor party, Vincent Chin is bludgeoned with a baseball bat by two white autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, in Detroit, Michigan. The parties had been involved in an earlier fight at a strip club, where Ebens had said to Chin, "It's because of you little motherfuckers that we're out of work," referring to the massive loss of U.S. auto industry jobs to Japan.

June 23, 1982:  Vincent Chin dies in a coma, five days before his wedding.

March 16, 1983:  Wayne County Circuit Judge Charles Kaufman finds Ebens and Nitz guilty of manslaughter and sentences each of them to 3 years probation, a $3,000 fine, and no jail time. The sentence is handed down without the prosecuting attorney present, and neither Chin's mother nor any witnesses are called to testify.

May 9, 1983:  About 1,000 marchers rally in downtown Detroit to protest the sentences.

July 1983:  In the face of growing public outrage, the U.S. Department of Justice orders the FBI to investigate whether Ebens and Nitz violated Chin's civil rights.

November 1983:  A federal grand jury indicts Ebens and Nitz on two counts -- violating Chin's civil rights and conspiracy.

June 1984:  Ebens is sentenced to 25 years in prison for violating Chin's civil rights, but is released on a $20,000 bond. Nitz is cleared of all charges.

September 1986:  A federal appeals court overturns Ebens' conviction on a legal technicality: an attorney is accused of improperly coaching prosecution witnesses.

April 1987:  Under intense public pressure, the U.S. Department of Justice orders a retrial to be held at a new venue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

May 1987:  Ebens is cleared of all charges at the retrial, meaning that neither Ebens nor Nitz spent a full day in jail for the beating death of Vincent Chin.

July 1987:  In a civil suit, Ebens is ordered to pay $1.5 million to the estate of Vincent Chin. However, Ebens disposes of his assets and flees the state. To-date, he has not paid any of the settlement.

September 1987:  Disgusted with the justice system in her adopted country, Vincent Chin's mother, Lily Chin, leaves the U.S. and moves back to Guangzhou, China.

June 9, 2002:  Lily Chin passes away, two weeks before the 20th anniversary of her son's death.