Non-criminal bias: Incidents that hateful but criminal like yelling a slur, Crimes with bias elements: Crimes with hate elements not solely motivated by bias, Malicious harassment: Crime motivated by bias (Source: City of Seattle Auditor’s report)
If the most important first step in fixing a problem is measuring it, a new report from the city might help Seattle stem the rising tide of hate crime. Meanwhile, a new ordinance might also make it easier to prosecute.
A new report from the Seattle City Auditor’s office shows efforts to encourage people to report bias crime are — sadly — working. In 2018, there were some 521 crimes and incidents involving bias reported in Seattle. That is up 25% over the previous year and up 313% in the five-year period starting 2014.
The rise is terrible but also shows SPD’s relatively small bias crimes unit is making progress in encouraging more people to report the crimes and shaping the department to take bias complaints more seriously.
Tuesday, the Seattle City Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee will take up legislation started last summer to change how Seattle prosecutes hate crimes. Continue reading
The FBI confirms what Seattle already knows — citizens here are reporting more and more hate crimes.
The federal agency this week released its 2017 “uniform crime reporting” statistics for reported bias crimes across the nation showing a 17% jump over 2016’s totals. But the FBI’s data for Seattle shows a much larger issue — hate crime reports nearly doubled in the city in 2017 with reports of religious bias up a whopping 275%:
“The FBI’s Seattle Field Office serves a diverse community. In the wake of the tragic events in Pittsburgh that impacted the nation, we want to assure Washingtonians that their safety and civil rights are a top priority,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael F. Paul of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office said in a statement on the report’s release. Continue reading
Family and loved ones of Dwone Anderson-Young mourned the 23-year-old’s murder at a vigil following the June 2014 murders (Image: CHS)
The man accused of killing two gay men he met on Capitol Hill as part of a nationwide murder spree investigators say was driven by extremist beliefs has pleaded guilty to another murder and admitted in court to the Seattle crimes.
Prosecutors say Ali Muhammad Brown was “jihad-inspired” when he murdered 23-year-old Dwone Anderson-Young and and 27-year-old Ahmed Said in the June 1st, 2014 slayings. The two were shot to death early on a Sunday morning after a night on Capitol Hill. Their bodies were found in the area of 29th and King near the home Anderson-Young shared with his mother. Continue reading
See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.
- 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
SPD Detective Beth Wareing (Image: Alex Garland)
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.
- Seattle Police LGBTQ liaison officer Jim Ritter (Image: Starbucks)
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:
This account was sent to us Wednesday morning. We have been working to find out more about it through the day.
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