ANNAPOLIS — Former U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur has been tapped by Gov. Larry Hogan to lead a state work group on anti-Asian American violence.
The panel led by Hur will be tasked with meeting with affected groups and analyzing crime against Asian Americans. Recommendations from the panel could lead to changes in policing efforts, prosecution of crimes as well as work with witnesses, including protection as well as victims’ services.
“I’m not one for work groups or commissions or committees or tasks forces that don’t do anything,” said Hogan. “I have a predilection for action like we did with the (vaccine) Equity Task Force headed up by General (Janeen) Birckhead. They’re taking action every single day.”
Hogan noted the national and local rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, especially over the last year, tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020, hate crimes in America’s largest cities declined overall by 7%, even as crimes targeting Asians rose nearly 150%. In Maryland, hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have more than doubled since 2018, according to the governor’s office.
The governor has been a vocal opponent of anti-Asian American crime. In recent weeks he’s visited business corridors with large numbers of Asian American business owners and ordered state law enforcement agencies to increase so-called visibility patrols.
“That hits close to home for me and my family,” said Hogan. “Like so many of their fellow Asian Americans, my wife and three daughters have had to contend with some of this throughout their lives, but in recent months all across the country we have seen hurtful words and gestures turn into villainization and violent acts.”
Hogan’s wife, Yumi, is a Korean immigrant and the first Asian American first lady of a U.S. governor.
In selecting Hur, Hogan praised the former prosecutor as “a strong advocate for justice and for the Asian American community.”
“Conversations about subjects like race and racism can be extraordinarily awkward and difficult, but awkward and difficult and honest conversations are the only way to solve big and painful problems in our society,” said Hur, who is also Asian American.
Hur holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a law degree from Stanford. He clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as well as for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
He joined the D.C. office of Gibson Dunn on Monday and will focus on crisis management and white collar defense and investigations, according to the firm.
Immediately prior to joining the firm, he served three years as U.S. attorney for Maryland, overseeing the prosecution of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh as well as former state Sen. Nathaniel Oaks and former Del. Tawana Gaines. During his tenure, the office also forged a number of initiatives with Baltimore and state law enforcement agencies to address gang crimes and gun violence.