Capitol Hill Community Council holding benefit for Bellevue mosque damaged in fire

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-12-45-pmNext week, the Capitol Hill Community Council is expanding its neighborhood borders to help the Islamic Center of the Eastside in Bellevue, which is raising money to rebuild after a January arson attack.

“We wanted to really dedicate our time and basically give our space to other folks in our community that are hurting or being targeted,” said CHCC president Zachary DeWolf.

While the ICOE may not be located on Capitol Hill or in Seattle, DeWolf said a benefit hosted by CHCC on February 23 is a way to stand in solidarity with not only the ICOE but also the Muslim community in the neighborhood.

While attacks on the Muslim community have been seen nationwide, so has support for Muslims, said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Seattle. Continue reading

Police investigating hate crime after gun threat at IHOP

Police are searching for suspects after a Jewish man said he had a gun pulled on him because he was speaking Hebrew inside the E Madison IHOP.

In the incident reported just before midnight Wednesday, police were called to a location nearby the restaurant where the victim said he had fled two male suspects who made the threat. The victim told police the suspects showed a pistol and told him to leave.

UPDATE: Here is a portion of the SPD report detailing the threats:

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The victim told police that he and his friends are from Israel and were talking at their table. As they got up to leave IHOP, they noticed a man sitting in an adjacent booth wearing a “Free Palestine” sweatshirt. According to the police report, the man told officers he thought the sweatshirt was offensive but said he did not say anything to the man as he and his friends left the restaurant before being confronted outside.

Police searched the restaurant and bars in the area but could not locate anybody matching the suspect description but were able to get surveillance video showing the two men.

One suspect was described as an Asian male in his 20s wearing a pink colored jacket. The suspect carrying the gun was described as an unknown race male with black hair, olive complexion, and heavyset. Images show he was wearing a “Free Palestine” sweatshirt, according to police.

There were no reported injuries.

Police are investigating the threats as a hate crime. If you have information that might help the investigation, call 911.

This post has been updated with information from the SPD’s report on the incident.

Jayapal, Inslee, Constantine, and Murray declare Washington a hate-free state

Since Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, hate crimes have been reported throughout the nation, including in Washington state, where a sign at a mosque in Redmond has been vandalized twice in a month. Incidents against LGBTQ and Jewish communities have also been reported.

In an effort to combat discrimination, vandalism, and violence, officials designated Washington State a hate-free zone at a Tuesday press conference, just as elected leaders did following 9/11.

“We stand ready to take on any federal actions that undermine this state as a sanctuary and refuge for all people. Just as we did fifteen years ago, we reaffirm our promise to each other and declare our state, the state of Washington, a hate-free state,” said Congresswoman-elect Pramila Jayapal. Continue reading

22 things CHS heard during the #disarmhate panel at Gay City

IMG_6632Attendees of a panel discussion on curbing gun violence and hate crimes didn’t have to look far beyond the walls of Capitol Hill’s Gay City auditorium to find reasons for the event.

Four shootings on Capitol Hill recently took place in the span of four weeks. A black woman was shot to death in Madison Valley. Days before Capitol Hill’s trans pride event, a transgender person was physically attacked.

“It’s striking that all theses incidents are happening in spaces that are supposed to be safe environments,” said Seattle Urban League CEO Pamela Banks, who moderated the event.

Panelists representing diverse populations around Seattle gathered Thursday to discuss gun violence in their communities. It was perhaps the type of wide ranging, “real conversation” that many politicians often plead for around issues of guns and hate crimes but so rarely happen. Continue reading

Anti-LGBTQ violence prompts self-defense classes in Volunteer Park

9U0A5911Around 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

Racist assault reported inside Broadway/Pike Starbucks

Seattle Police are investigating an ugly assault at the Broadway/Pike Starbucks Friday morning as a hate crime.

According to police reports, a man spat on a black man and woman and used racial epithets during an assault inside the coffee shop Friday morning just before 11 AM. The suspect was gone by the time police arrived.

CHS learned about the attack from a blog post by one of its victimsDr. Bob Hughes, an associate dean at Seattle University:

My awareness of the incident, as I later explained it to the officer who took my statement, started with me realizing that my right hand was wet. We were in a Starbucks and there was lots of liquid around. My cortical brain told me that most likely someone spilled something. But then, I heard someone behind me say something that sounded like, “fucking nigger bitch.” My brain needed a new explanation. I turned and realized that a young White man in his early 20s behind me, neatly dressed with short-cropped hair with a dark-colored backpack, was directing this statement to my colleague. As I turned further to face him, he said, “That’s right fucking nigger bitch” again. He walked to the door and walked out. The incident didn’t really register with me, even as he walked out. What had happened? I turned to my colleague and asked if she knew the young man. She had never seen him. He went outside and stood at the window yelling more comments that we could not hear and finally walked away down the street. It was as he stood at the window that my brain started to make sense of things, as I realized that the liquid I initially felt on my hand was his spit. He had spit at my colleague, as it turned out, twice. This young man looked like a thousand other young college students I’ve seen over the years. Clean cut, well dressed. He was also visibly angry. He did not present as mentally disturbed or under the influence of any substances. He directed his anger at my colleague, having never met either of us. He saw two African Americans sitting in a Starbucks and decided that it was okay to assault us.

Dr. Hughes tells CHS that the incident was likely captured on video and that police were provided with access to the surveillance.

But Dr. Hughes confronts a larger issue in his post:

While the society has created hate crime laws and has professed an expectation that this kind of behavior shouldn’t be tolerated, clearly for this young man those weren’t enough discouragements to overcome whatever misogynistic and racial hatred and ignorance fuel him. And, on reflection a few hours after the incident, more than that young man’s actions were disturbing to me.  This was a very public act in a very small space.  Everyone at that café heard the incident and many saw it.  However, only one patron came up after the incident.  That woman apologized to us, saying that this should never happen to anyone, and she offered to be a witness.  Also, the manager came to assist us to clean ourselves and to help file the police report.  Everyone else at the café sat silently or went on with their business.  In a truly post-racial world, that would not be how things work.  In a post-racial world, that kind of violation would mobilize every person in that space to actively resist an assault on two people – an assault that only happened because of our race, and because of the gender of my colleague.

“My guess is that the next time, this young man will be more violent and his next incident will be more brash,” Hughes writes. “Unstopped, antisocial behavior like this escalates. And he lives in a world right now where he felt safe taking these actions. But when incidents like this stop, or people who witness these incidents involve themselves as actors against such acts, then maybe we’ll be moving toward a post-racial world.”

The case remains an open investigation according to SPD.

Hill’s Gender Justice League pushing for more information on Sunday night beating

Capitol Hill’s Gender Justice League is looking to learn more about a beating that took place in Pike/Pine Sunday night.

According to East Precinct and Seattle Fire radio dispatches, officers responded to a disturbance reported Sunday night on 10th Ave near Pike around 9:20 PM in which the victim suffered a bloody nose that required medical treatment.

But the League’s Danni Askini has posted details to Facebook from witnesses to the altercation that describe a much more violent incident involving “a very serious hate crime against a trans woman in Capitol Hill.” Continue reading

5 reasons for Capitol Hill’s hate crime ‘spike’

Crosscut is the latest Seattle media outlet to take on hate crime on Capitol Hill:

It turns out he’s not alone. There is strong anecdotal evidence that anti-LGBTQ violence is rising in Capitol Hill, Seattle’s historically gay neighborhood.


The 2,000+ word report grabs what numbers are available — LGBTQ hate-crimes jumped from 6 in 2011 to 19 in 2012, she reports — and documents the most disturbing recent anecdotes like the Neighbours arson case and the Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young murders.

It also focuses on the July 2013 beating of Doug Hamilton on Pike:

Last July, he was walking with two female friends when a stranger, who had repeatedly asked the trio intrusive questions about their sexual orientations, punched him in the chest and underneath the chin.

When Hamilton, a 52-year-old gay man, was knocked to the ground at the corner of Minor and Pike, sustaining a concussion, it was still light outside.

At the time, CHS reported that Hamilton “spotted the perpetrator the next day sleeping in a doorway near the site of the attack.” Crosscut reports Hamilton declined to press charges against the homeless man.

Crosscut’s report searches for causes behind perceived increase and talks with organizers from public safety groups like Social Outreach Seattle. There’s no mention, by the way, of the Q-Patrol-styled Out Watch group’s efforts to keep the neighborhood’s streets safer. SPD officer Sina Ebinger’s work in the community, however, does receive a well-deserved shoutout.

In the end, Crosscut chalks the problem up to the “deweirding” of Capitol Hill.

Weird or not, here is what CHS has seen in covering the neighborhood. Continue reading

Drag performer says attacked on Capitol Hill… again — UPDATE

Turner posted this image to Instagram Saturday with the message "Alive & grateful."

Turner posted this image to Instagram Saturday with the message “Alive & grateful.”

A Seattle actor and performance artist who was one of the first victims to report an assault in what grew into a summer wave of reported hate crimes around Capitol Hill has said he was attacked again early Saturday morning. Seattle Gay Scene has a few details on the attack on Robbie Turnerand is calling for change:

Popular local drag performer Robbie Turner was attacked at 2 am this morning walking home from a gig. Robbie, well aware of the rising problems with street crime, allegedly contacted the Uber car service but the driver refused to pick up a performer in drag. Robbie walked home and was attacked. It it the second time this year that Robbie was the victim of street crime.

Despite the frequent reports of such crimes, not much seems to have been done to fight such crime. There’s a local campaign, but other than a march and an urge for people to “be careful” there’s not much being done to actually DO something about the issue. The city, the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Central Community College seem to be ignoring the problem.

It’s time to DO something. In an effort to actually get things in motion to correct these problems, I wrote this letter and sent it off to various LGBTQ Capitol Hill leaders, or, at least the ones I have email addresses for. You need to see it, too. We all need to DO something.

We’re checking in on the time and location of the attack and are reviewing available details of the few assaults included in the night’s East Precinct dispatches. We’ll also ask Uber about its policy regarding driver discretion to refuse passengers. UPDATE: Via Twitter, from Uber: “We’re in contact with the rider but was told that the driver picked up the wrong person. Currently investigating.” CHS also talked to a company representative who said that drivers do have discretion to refuse a customer but only for issues such as safety concerns. The Uber rep said they’re working to sort out why Turner seems to have been turned away from the service. UPDATE x2: Seattle Gay Scene clarifies the Uber element of the story: “The information I’ve received is that Robbie did call Uber and Uber came to pick up Robbie but SOMEONE ELSE SNAGGED THE UBER! In other words, the Uber pulls up to someone and the driver probably asks “Robbie?” and that person said “Yes!” and snagged a free ride home. ”

UPDATE x3 — Sunday, 9/15/2013 – 10:40 AM: Seattle Gay Scene has sent CHS an account of the incident reportedly posted to Turner’s personal Facebook page that we’ll try to verify before posting more details. The account describes a very brief but still hurtful assault involving a stranger slapping Turner outside of Purr on 11th Ave as the performer, still in drag, waited for a car service pick-up. Turner’s account also says he doesn’t blame Uber for the incident and plans to continue using the service. “This wasn’t a hate crime and people are exaggerating the actual facts which is not helpful,” the Turner Facebook update provided to us by Seattle Gay Scene reads. “It is not ok for people to hit someone ever, but it is also not ok to falsify information that you are not privy too.”

The report comes following a May street robbery in which Turner said he was held up near Seattle Central and attacked by an assailant with a knife as onlookers reportedly did not act to intervene.

Recent assaults and reported hate crimes against gay men around the Hill have prompted many to call for a stronger police presence while community efforts have included rallies and marches. Meanwhile, with a debate over public safety becoming a larger part of the 2013 mayor’s race, CHS documented the steady pace of assaults and rise in street robberies on Capitol Hill so far this year.