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Accused Racial Attacker Agrees To Pay Estate Of Chinese-American $65,600

March 3, 1987

DETROIT (AP) _ One of two laid-off autoworkers who allegedly beat a Chinese-American man to death because they thought he was Japanese has agreed to pay $65,600 to the victim’s estate.

The settlement reached Monday calling for Michael Nitz, 28, to pay Vincent Chin’s estate came as attorneys were set to argue a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit against Nitz and his stepfather, Robert Ebens, 47.

The settlement calls for Nitz to pay the Chin estate $50,000 in cash and $30 weekly for 10 years, beginning May 1.

Judge Marianne O. Battani postponed the civil suit against Ebens until a retrial on federal civil rights charges against him can be completed in Cincinnati. His retrial, set to begin April 21, was moved there because of publicity about the case in Detroit.

Ebens, a former foreman at Chrysler Corp., and Nitz, also a laid-off autoworker, were accused of beating Chin with a baseball bat June 19, 1982, outside a Highland Park nightspot. Chin died four days later.

Witnesses said the men directed racial slurs at Chin, 27, apparently thinking he was Japanese, and chided him about U.S. auto industry layoffs.

The case drew widespread criticism after Ebens and Nitz pleaded guilty in state court to manslaughter charges in 1983 and were fined and placed on probation. Federal civil rights charges were later filed in the wake of angry reaction from Asian-Americans who charged that they were treated too leniently.

Nitz was originally acquitted of the civil rights charges, but Ebens was convicted in U.S. District Court in Detroit in 1984 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

That conviction was overturned last September by a federal appeals court, saying that he had been denied a fair trial. Federal officials decided to retry the case in a different city.

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