- Comet assault: A man told police he was beaten at the Comet Monday night in an altercation with a group of patrons who were yelling “‘faggot’ at the television when President Donald Trump was being shown.” SPD’s bias division is reviewing the case. According to the SPD report on the incident, the victim told police he was paying his tab at the Comet around 7 PM when he decided to intervene and tell the yelling group that using that word “in a public place out loud was not appropriate and that they should stop.” “The primary suspect then turned around and punched V/1 in the face with a closed fist. The five other suspects listed above then jumped on V/1, forcing him to the ground,” the report notes. The melee continued out of the bar and onto the sidewalk where the group of six continued to beat and chase the two victim and his acquaintance. Police say the Comet bartender could not provide many details but confirmed one patron “had been kicked out of the bar and was causing a disturbance with other customers but he did not see a fight or anyone being assaulted.” SPD reports that injuries suffered by the victims in the attack were minor. A friend of the victim who reported the incident to CHS tells said his friend suffered a broken nose and a concussion. SPD is investigating. Continue reading
While the Seattle Police Department has kept track of biased crime cases for decades — it has to be reported to the feds — a unit dedicated to investigating the reports is only a few years old. It sits underneath the homicide and assault units. The person in charge? Detective Beth Wareing.
She’s technically a coordinator but she reads all the cases, knows where they are and answers questions. The hallmark of bias crime, Wareing said, is random selection — a stranger suddenly choosing to do something hateful to a person with little or no warning. “It’s one of the things that makes them a little difficult to solve,” she said. The department says only 39% of reported bias crimes in 2017 have resulted in charges.
The number of reports, so far, never goes down. “It’s a challenge to say what is completely responsible for increases,” Wareing says. “It is possible it’s in an increase in bias crimes, people are reporting more, officers are doing better at identifying characteristics in a case, or demographic trends have been increasing interactions between people.”
The reality is, however, it’s rarely one factor. And things like politics and media coverage matter.
“One of the things I’m seeing in Seattle is people in Seattle are aware,” Wareing said. “They tend to be pretty active, they read the news. We get a lot of concerned citizens calling in.” Continue reading
Police say a transgender woman was beaten and bloodied inside a Capitol Hill restaurant over the weekend in a late night attack being reviewed by the city’s hate crime officials.
According to the Seattle Police report on the early Sunday incident, officers found the victim with blood on her face and chest, and a cut above her eye after the attack inside the popular late night hangout Rancho Bravo. The victim told police she was beaten after a verbal exchange with the suspects who were recording her and her friend on video and making hateful comments:
According to the SPD report, the situation escalated quickly when a third suspect struck the victim. The victim said she tried to pretend to be unconscious to stop the beating:
Police provided only a general description of the attackers in the report — a black male with a “faded” hairstyle, a black male in a “blue with white” shirt, and the white male who punched the victim, also wearing a blue with white shirt. The suspects were reported to have left the scene in a white Cadillac SUV. Detectives also may have a partial license plate to work with:
According to the report, the incident may have been captured on the restaurant’s security video system but SPD tells CHS it doesn’t have more information to share at this time. According to a department spokesperson, the investigation is currently being reviewed by the SPD bias crimes unit.
The latest citywide bias crimes data trends show that reports of hate crimes — especially criminal incidents like this assault with an added hate crime element — continue to increase in Seattle.
UPDATE 9/22/2017 8:55 AM: In a statement, Rancho Bravo management decried the attack and called Capitol Hill “a vibrant example of self-expression and freedom.” The restaurant said it does not, however, have video of the assault. “Up to now, out of respect for personal privacy we have had a policy of not monitoring the dining area. In light of recent events we will now change that policy.” The restaurant urged anybody with information that might aid the investigation to call 911.
An effort to better document and respond to discrimination in the city includes a new Seattle hotline to call if you have been the victim of harassment:
Whether at home, at work, or in a public place, everyone is protected from discriminatory harassment. Discriminatory harassment or violence is behavior that interferes with your civil rights and is directed at you because of your race, religion, gender and/or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and more. It can include: threats, slurs or epithets, intimidation or coercion, violence or use of force, damaging or defacing property and cyberbullying.
Reporting discriminatory harassment is easy, and can be done anonymously. Call the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) to get started at 206-233-7100 or CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT OUR ONLINE COMPLAINT FORM
Officials say the hotline is an effort to augment existing public safety services — so definitely call 911 to report or a crime or if there is a dangerous situation. The hotline provides another avenue to make sure issues beyond law enforcement can be raised as quickly as possible.
Last month, CHS reported on SPD’s new bias crimes statistics dashboard and trends that capture the increase in reported incidents — thanks, in part, to a greater emphasis on reporting racial, sexual orientation, or religious harassment issues. Citywide in both 2016 and 2015, hate crimes against race were the most frequently reported followed by LGBTQ and religious incidents.
Officials from the Seattle Office for Civil Rights said the new hotline is also being accompanied by meetings with community groups and a media campaign to make sure citizens are aware of the resource.
You can learn more at seattle.gov.
Hate crime data for Seattle is now more transparent and readily available to the public with Seattle Police Department’s recently launched Bias/Hate Crime Data dashboard.
Previously SPD provided reports to the City Council and the public twice per year.
“(The dashboard) gives people a little bit more information in real time and allows them to conduct their own analysis,” Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, SPD spokesperson, told CHS.
Shaun Knittel, with Social Outreach Seattle, is the chair of the SPD’s LGBTQ Advisory Council, and often meets with the victims of hate crimes.
“I cannot tell you how many people have no clue about the actual numbers; I’m really happy SPD is putting this out there,” Knittel told CHS. Continue reading
Seattle Police are asking for help gathering information after multiple reports of hate crimes around the Central District spread Wednesday.
UPDATE 7/14/16 4:10 PM: SPD says it has made contact with the victim and a hate crime investigation has been opened. The Stranger has the basic details of the report:
A black woman was physically attacked by a group of white men at the intersection of 31st Street and Jackson Street along Frink Park around 5 p.m. on Tuesday. She had just gotten off a bus with her six-year-old son.
“Social media made it seem like there was a roving group of people who had committed multiple crimes. As far as we know, this is the only report,” an SPD spokesperson told the paper. CHS confirmed with SPD Thursday afternoon that police are now in contact with the victim.
Original report: In the reports, a group of white males is said to have attacked black people at different locations around the Central District. SPD turned to Twitter to ask people to come forward with any information that could assist investigations:
Unable to confirm reports of a hate crime in the Central District. Anyone with info, PLEASE call 911 or DM us. pic.twitter.com/YeLbVt6KR5
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) July 13, 2016
In one account sent to us, a woman said her friend and another person were attacked and beaten Tuesday around 6 PM near E Yesler and that the incident was reported to police.
SPD public information representatives said they can’t find any details of an attack at that time and location and publicly available dispatch records don’t show anything similar in the neighborhood.
In addition, our review of radio traffic in the East Precinct around the hours the attack was reported don’t include any assaults nearby.
The reports come at a time of heightened tensions over policing and the black community following more deadly shootings of black men by police and the deadly attack on police officers in Dallas. Seattle, meanwhile, is in the midst of ongoing attempts to reform its police force as a new labor contract with the department’s Seattle Police Office Guild’s 1,250 members is being finalized. Continue reading
An employee of E Pine’s Poco Wine and Spirits was severely beaten in a Pride weekend attack that Seattle Police detectives are investigating as a hate crime. (UPDATE: Poco tells us the person who was attacked is a manager at the venue not an owner as documented in the SPD report on the incident. “Owners Tramale and Jackie are fine, but we were all troubled by what happened,” a Poco rep tells CHS.)
According to the East Precinct report on the assault, the male victim left the Cuff around 11:30 PM on Saturday, June 25th and was walking alone on E Pine when he was approached by an unknown male. The victim told police the suspect walked up, called him a faggot, and punched him in the face.
The victim suffered “significant” injuries from the single punch including “swelling, bruising and cuts around his left eye” and a scraped left shoulder, police said. The victim told police he could not remember what had happened immediately following the punch and may have lost consciousness. Continue reading
Around 20 people gathered in Volunteer Park on Sunday for the first in a series of self-defense classes being offered in the park this summer. The outdoor seminar is free and open to all, but specifically geared towards the LGBTQ community and people of color. With the recent assault of a trans person on Capitol Hill during Pride weighing heavily on the minds of attendees, organizers said the need to prepare for such attacks is an unfortunate reality.
“It really breaks my heart to see violence in this community and I’m just so tired of it,” said instructor Brendan Ng, who organized the class along with two other martial arts practitioners. The fist class was primarily attended by women.
One attendee, who gave her name as Sterling, said that while she has never felt “super, super unsafe” on Capitol Hill, she has been in some dangerous situations and heard about gruesome attacks, such as the anti-trans beating in June, that prompted her to attend the seminar. “I realized, ‘Oh, that could be me,’ and I thought I should learn how to defend myself,” she said. Continue reading
Police are investigating the reported beating of a person leaving a Capitol Hill benefit for Orlando Wednesday night as as a hate crime.
Friends and supporters have donated more than $10,000 to help support Michael Volz during recovery from injuries in Wednesday night’s reported anti-trans beating at 11th and Pike:
Dear community, It is with a heavy heart, deep sadness, and great rage, that I let you know our dear friend Michael M Volz was assaulted last night on capitol hill. Michael, myself, and a group of friends attended the fundraiser to benefit the pulse massacre last night at Neumos. Michael left a little bit before everyone to walk to their car and get ready for work in the morning. As Michael was walking to their car, they past the rose, and were approached by a white man in an orange sweatshirt with scruffy brown hair. The man said to Michael, Happy Pride, and began to assault Michael. As he, was punching and choking Michael, he said, “show me your tits you tranny cunt” Michael some how made it back to their house. Michael contacted myself and their friend Sharon. Sharon drove Michael to the hospital and I met them at the Emergency Room. Currently, michael is home. They have some stitches, abrasions, and a lot of bruising. We will need food and people willing to spend time with Michael over the weekend. Currently, we have care situated until early tomorrow afternoon. If you are available to bring food or company please contact us!
Michael wanted me to attach pictures because this is what transphobia looks like. pictures in comments.
According to Seattle Police, officers responded to a vehicle carrying the victim to investigate the incident around 2:15 AM Thursday morning. Police records show the beating was reported to have happened around 11:30 PM Wednesday night near 11th and E Pike following the Let Your Love Shine: A Queer Benefit For Orlando at Neumos.
UPDATE 4:45 PM: At a Friday afternoon media conference in Cal Anderson before the start of the 2016 Trans* Pride rally and march, Volz, who was still showing wounds from the attack, was accompanied by around 100 supporters and said the attack is part of “a climate of hate” against trans people.
“This is not an isolated incident, this is something that happens to our community frequently and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Volz said.
Volz said they were encouraged by all the people who have offered support.
“It is what great sadness and anger, quite frankly, that I have to stand here,” said SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best.
Volz was joined by trans activist Danni Askini,founder of the Gender Justice League, who called on people to reject anti-trans bills in the state.
“All of us are in shock and fearful,” Askini said.
“Part of our efforts to do things like Trans Pride Seattle is to create community and solidarity so that people do not feel isolated,” Askini said.
Best said police have not identified a suspect and there is no known video from nearby businesses showing the incident.
Despite the number of Safe Places near the location of the attack, Best said it was not a reflection that the LGBTQ safety program was not working.
“We are united, we’re not going anywhere” says Michael Volz (right), victim of anti trans attack pic.twitter.com/u7KfnJCM5T
— Bryan Cohen (@bchasesc) June 24, 2016
UPDATE 12:40 PM: Police announced Friday afternoon that the FBI is assisting the investigation of the crime and provided new details of the attack: Continue reading
“While we see a rolling back of civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in some corners of the country, Seattle remains inclusive and welcoming to all people.”
The SPD program launched on Capitol Hill in 2015 for businesses and organizations to provide safe haven for victims and raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ hate crime is now in place across the city’s school system.
All 98 Seattle Public Schools will now be Safe Places.
“While we see a rolling back of civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in some corners of the country, Seattle remains inclusive and welcoming to all people,” Mayor Ed Murray said in an announcement on the new rollout for the program. “SPD Safe Place brings together businesses, community organizations, and the public to stand up against hate and intolerance. I applaud Seattle Public Schools for bringing this important program to our schools, empowering students to speak out against anti-LGBTQ harassment.”
Known for its rainbow bad stickers, the program also includes SPDSAFEPLACE.com which is designed as a portal with information about bias crimes and prevention along with tools to help victims report incidents.
To be part of the program, participants must pledge to prepare their businesses as safe harbors for victims and train employees:
By signing this commitment pledge I agree to use these decals/signs for their intended purpose by posting them on my premise. I further agree to instruct my organization’s employees to assist the victims and/or witnesses to anti-LGBTQ crimes by calling the police on their behalf and allowing them to remain on my premise until police arrive.
You can sign up to get the decals here.
“Our district is proud to partner with the City and the Seattle Police Department to make all of our schools Safe Places,” Seattle Public Schools superintendent Larry Nyland said. “This is a continuation of our commitment to ensuring all our students feel safe and equal in our schools”
SPD says the Safe Place program has now reached 1,600 locations across the city.