AG Ferguson launches Hate Crime Working Group

Group intends to develop strategies and raise awareness of hate crimes and enhance law enforcement

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently launched a Hate Crime Working Group with the goal of developing strategies to raise awareness of hate crimes, and enhance law enforcement and the public’s responses to these incidents.

The Hate Crime Working Group, which was created in the 2019 legislative session, had its first public meeting Sept. 6 in Seattle. The Attorney General’s Office testified in support of the bill, which state Rep. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, sponsored.

“In creating this working group, Washington is demonstrating its commitment to the safety of all its residents, regardless of their gender, national origin or religion,” Ferguson said.

“Our Hate Crimes Advisory Working Group will be taking a hard look at what kind of hate crimes are happening in Washington and how we can strengthen our response and support victims.”

Washington state law defines a hate, or “bias-motivated,” crime as a crime or threat against someone because of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or mental, physical or sensory handicaps.

In 2018, the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs received 765 reports of offenses where the victim was targeted for one of those characteristics, according to a news release.

A survey by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics states that more than 200,000 people over the age of 12 were victims of hate incidents each year from 2013 to 2017. The bureau estimates that victims or their families only reported about half of those incidents to law enforcement.

“Lack of reporting and incomplete data at the federal level make it difficult for Washington law enforcement agencies to understand the full impact that hate crimes have on their communities,” the news release stated.

“The working group will research and propose best practices on how Washington can increase reporting and strengthen responses from law enforcement and prosecutors. The group also will research how to best support victims of hate crimes.”

The Attorney General’s Office must report the working group’s recommendations to Gov. Inslee and the state Legislature by July 1, 2020.

More in News

Man arrested after barricading home in weeklong standoff

KCSO: Man barricaded himself in his home and set fire to it before surrendering

State working to get more personal protection equipment to Washington

Healthcare workers have been on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis,… Continue reading

Gov. Inslee on federal stimulus package: Thanks, but more is needed

Gov. Jay Inslee welcomed the approval of a $2 trillion federal stimulus… Continue reading

Kitsap County suspends plastic bag ban

In an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 Kitsap County commissioners… Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer
Rep. Kilmer holds telephone town hall on CARES Act, coronavirus

The worst is yet to come, but action taken this week by… Continue reading

KPHD releases directives for employers, employees and the public

As testing continues to ramp up and more cases of COVID-19 are… Continue reading

Grub Hut shutting down for two weeks due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Grub Hut closed Tuesday and will remain so until April 6

Bremerton expands rental assistance program to include those affected by COVID-19

Eligible Bremerton residents will have the opportunity to have a portion of… Continue reading

<em>The Acohido family, Max, Kiki, Amanda and Kyle, along with their cat, Bemo, pose for their Quarantine portrait in Kingston.</em>								Photo courtesy Rachael Cates Photography
Meet the Kingston photographer capturing the lighter side of the quarantine

One Kingston resident has been working to show the lighter side of… Continue reading

Most Read