How local police investigate hate crimes

How Spokane authorities deal with hate crimes

SPOKANE, Wash. --- After a reported hate crime at the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center earlier this month, Spokane leaders are calling on residents to come together against hate.

“Don’t allow the hatred to make you a victim, allow it to make you a hero,” said Al French, a Spokane county commissioner, at a Tuesday press conference.

Other city and county leaders spoke out against hate, and advised residents to report acts of hate when they see it.

KREM 2 wanted to know what happens after a hate crime is reported.

“The Spokane Police Department, the City of Spokane, takes hate crimes, hate-based crimes, extremely seriously, we take every step we can to try and track down and prevent,” said Eric Olsen, a SPD captain.

First, an officer responds. If they think it is a hate crime, then a supervisor is called to the scene to confirm it is a hate crime.

The supervisor is also responsible for making sure all investigative steps are taken.

The case is then handed over to the Major Crimes unit, the same division that handles Spokane’s most serious cases.

“The fact that we assign these hate bias crimes to our Major Crimes, I think shows the seriousness and the importance that we place on these incidents in Spokane,” said Olsen.

At the press conference Tuesday, several leaders spoke out against bias, and called for the fear and hateful rhetoric to stop.

“It is time that we as a people we say no more to that type of rhetoric, be it from our elected [officials,] be it from special interest groups, no more fear that causes people anger and hate, which leads to violence,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

SPD officials said they expect to see an increase of people reporting incidents of hate after Tuesday, as residents become more aware.

“We don’t want those to go unreported, we want to be able to track those and take those steps to both prevent and take enforcement action when we can,” said Olsen.

SCSO said they have not had any hate crimes they know of in the county or Spokane Valley. SPD said there have been two hate crimes in the City of Spokane: The N-word painted on the side of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center and another where hateful speech was painted on the side of a garage.

The incident at the family center is still under investigation.

Community members paint over racial slur graffiti on MLK Jr. Center

SPOKANE, Wash. --- Someone spray painted a slur on the side of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center in Spokane on Monday night or Tuesday morning. The center said the N-word was painted in front of the early childhood education playground.



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