In the film, the drama rises up a couple of levels because

the Obscurus, controlled by Credence, killed Senator Shaw, the son of the newspaper publisher.

But why did it target him?

The Senator wasn't some anti-wizard force (as a matter of fact they both rejected the younger brother's overtures from the Salem organization). And it didn't seem to me that it was in revenge for that rejection either.

And we do know from Graves that he does control the Obscurus, so it wasn't some random attack.

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    It was out of hate because Shaw called them freaks and tells Credence they all belong in trash, that happens when Shaw gave Credence the fallen poster. Also Graves didn't know who the Obscurus was until the end so no he does not control it.It was a targeted attack but it was out of spite not targeted by Graves. – Schneejäger Apr 3 '17 at 22:53
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    Honestly I thought the whole Shaw sub-plot was pretty pointless. – Valorum Apr 3 '17 at 23:02
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    @DVK-on-Ahch-To - It felt completely shoehorned in, along with the whole Graves = Not Graves plot. Lack of foreshadowing and lack of narrative drive. – Valorum Apr 3 '17 at 23:05
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    @Valorum - if your point is that the whole thing is a sell-out hack of low storytelling quality; I definitely won't argue with you :) Special effects kinda prevent me from genuinely calling it a complete waste of 2 hours of my time... but barely. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 3 '17 at 23:07
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    @DVK-on-Ahch-To - It felt like there was an entire plot-bridge that was missing. Shaw Sr. wasn't presented a threat to the wizarding world and his son was just an incidental victim. I'm at a loss why they had such prominence in the film, only to be utterly forgotten again twenty minutes later – Valorum Apr 3 '17 at 23:09

It was in resentment for being called a freak.

No, you’re missing a trick here. Just look at the evidence—


(joining his father and brother)
Langdon. Just listen to Father and go.

His eyes shift, focus on Credence.

And take the freaks with you.

Credence perceptibly twitches, disturbed by anger in his vicinity. Mary Lou is calm but steely.

This is Father’s office, not yours, and I’m sick of this every time I walk in here . . .

Shaw Sr. silences his son and motions for the Barebones to leave.

That’s it—thank you.

(calm, dignified)
We hope you’ll reconsider, Mr. Shaw. We’re not difficult to find. Until then, we thank you for your time.

Shaw Sr. and Senator Shaw watch Mary Lou as she turns, leading her children out. The newsroom has fallen quiet, everyone craning to hear the row.

As he departs, Credence drops a leaflet. Senator Shaw moves forward and bends to pick it up. He glances at the witches on the front.

(to Credence)
Hey, boy. You dropped something. The senator crumples up the leaflet before putting it in Credence’s hand.

Here you go, freak—why don’t you put that in the trash where you all belong.

Behind Credence, Modesty’s eyes burn. She clutches Credence’s hand protectively

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay - Scene 38

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    You're merely re-iterating that he was called a "freak", you're not proving that that's why he committed the attack. – Möoz Apr 4 '17 at 2:21
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    @Mooz - The screenplay made a point in mentioning that it angered him. I thought it was pretty clear. – ibid Apr 4 '17 at 2:41

Credence was upset that Senator Shaw called him a freak.

When Mary Lou Barebone and her adopted children go to tell him about the existence of witches, Senator Shaw calls the Barebones “freaks” and says they all belong in the trash. Credence does seem upset at the time, but it’s clear the insult has really stuck with him when he later meets Graves, and it’s still on his mind. Graves sees he’s upset and asks what it was that someone said to upset him, and in response to that he asks Graves if he thinks he’s a freak.

“CREDENCE stands, head bowed, at the end of a dimly lit alleyway. GRAVES joins him, moving in very close to whisper, conspiratorial:

You’re upset. It’s your mother again. Somebody’s said something – what did they say? Tell me.

Do you think I’m a freak?

No – I think you’re a very special young man or I wouldn’t have asked you to help me, now would I?”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

In addition, Ezra Miller, the actor who plays Credence refers to Credence being called a freak in a way that was deeply affective in the first movie. This has to be referring to Senator Shaw, because he’s the only one in the first movie who called him a freak (a search of the screenplay shows this).

And it’s interesting because we heard in Credence’s narrative in the first film the derogatory term “freak” thrown at him in a way that was deeply affective, right? And I find it really interesting that we find him here in a sideshow, in a freak show, as they were known.
- “Crimes of Grindelwald” Set Visit Interview: Ezra Miller

From this, it’s clear that Senator Shaw calling Credence a freak very much upset him, which then would be why the Obscurus had targeted him specifically - it’s because of that.

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