Through May 1, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged 12 hate crimes this year from investigations referred to us by police.
In all but two of those cases, defendants have either previous documented mental health concerns, a history of substance use disorder, or both.
In all but three of the cases, the defendants have a violent conviction history. One of the others has a pending assault case.
There are more reported hate crimes, though we can only charge a case when a completed investigation is referred to us by law enforcement — and we believe we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. That can be difficult in suspected hate crimes where there are no statements or other evidence indicating the motive for an attack.
Here are specifics on the 12 cases we’ve charged this year:
- Five of the 12 cases involve AAPI victims.
- Two involve attacks against people perceived as undocumented immigrants.
- Two of the hate crimes targeted gay men.
- Three of the crimes were Black victims targeted by white defendants.
King County has seen an increase in hate crimes since 2018.
- 2018: 30
- 2019: 39
- 2020: 59
- 2021: 12 (through May 1)
The proposal put forward in March would create a dedicated Hate Crimes Task Force, which would dedicate two deputy prosecuting attorneys to work exclusively on hate crimes. Right now, we have two deputies who focus on hate crimes, but also handle other cases.
Hate crimes are unique in that they terrorize not only the victim, but an entire community. Here is a summary of the 12 hate crime cases filed so far this year in King County:
The defendant called a Metro bus driver several derogatory names, including racial slurs and threatened to shoot her. The driver, who is Black, feared for her life. The defendant, who is white, admitted to deputies that he threatened to shoot her because she was Black, but again used a derogatory term in his description. The defendant’s history includes convictions for malicious mischief, domestic violence, reckless burning, criminal trespass, drugs, forgery, assault, reckless driving and at least 13 theft cases. The defendant previously spent time at Western State Hospital.
Assault in the Third Degree; Hate crime
The defendant yelled that he hated Mexicans and Latinos and swore before pepper spraying two victims in the face at Beacon Hill gas station. The defendant, who is Black, alleged said Latinos should “go back.” This incident happened in November 2019, and the defendant was arrested in 2020 following a serious assault where he was found to be armed with a handgun. (The defendant, who was arrested after a six-hour SWAT standoff in that case, was charged for robbing and assaulting a woman who he lured back to his home with the promise of drugs and alcohol.) The hate crime case was referred months after he was jailed in the assault and robbery case, and it was charged in January 2021. The defendant’s history includes prior convictions for assault, robbery, possession of stolen property and at least three theft cases. The defendant has a history of drug issues, and also is suspected of yelling that he was looking for Mexicans “to hit and kill” in another case.
The defendant is accused of assaulting an Asian woman at random saying “Asians need to be put in their place.” When arrested, the defendant yelled and called officers racist slurs. The defendant, who is Black, shoved the victim so hard it knocked the wind out of her. The defendant’s history includes convictions for harassment, assault, trespass, possessing a dangerous weapon, residential burglary, multiple theft divisions, possession stolen property, multiple burglary counts, as well of felony out of state convictions. The defendant has a history of drug issues.
Robbery in the First Degree (two counts); Hate Crime
The defendant is accused of pointing a handgun at victims in West Seattle. One victim gave the defendant money from her purse and believed she would be shot if she didn’t comply. The defendant then pointed the gun at a man’s face while screaming. When a woman inside the man’s parked vehicle approached, the defendant told her to go “back to your country” and that he was “gonna kill your husband.” He then continued to scream and pound on the glass bank window while the man was inside at the ATM. Only when police arrested the defendant did they realize he had a black Airsoft pistol, which looked like a handgun. The defendant has a conviction history that includes domestic violence harassment, and he was released from jail the month prior to this incident after posting bond in a second-degree assault case. The defendant also has a mental health history and was taken to Western State Hospital for an evaluation in this case.
The defendant is accused of spitting in the face of a Walgreens security officer, then attacking the man who identified him to police. The defendant called that man a racist slur and said he was “going to enslave your punk ass.” The victim, who is Black, felt threatened even when the defendant, who is white, was in police custody. The defendant has a conviction history that includes assault, multiple theft convictions, criminal solicitation, property destruction and multiple criminal trespass convictions. The defendant’s case was referred to Mental Health Court.
The defendant targeted the victim, who lived in the same Capitol Hill apartment complex, because of his sexual orientation. The defendant also made threats to kill the victim. He yelled obscenities at police during his arrest, and in a separate incident the defendant called the victim multiple slurs in front of police. The victim told police he saw the victim brandishing a knife at another person in a separate argument and was afraid the defendant would carry out the threats to kill him. In January 2021, the defendant was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
The defendant, who was in a chair in the middle of a parking lot next to the victim’s building, started swearing at him repeatedly, told him to go back to his country and that he didn’t belong here. The defendant, who is white, threw a trash can at the victim, who is Vietnamese, and then chased him. The defendant punched the victim in the face at least twice while the victim was not fighting back. When charges were filed, the defendant had three pending cases in Seattle Municipal Court — domestic violence assault and assault cases — and had been released on his personal recognizance the previous month. His Washington conviction history includes property destruction, multiple DUIs, domestic violence assault, first-degree attempted robbery and possessing stolen property. He also has a criminal history in Oregon and California. In an earlier case, the defendant was ordered by the court to have a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow all treatment recommendations.
The defendant threatened the victim because of anti-gay bias. He knocked on the door of the victim’s apartment and told the victim that he “was not cool with gays” and threatened to assault him. The defendant also said he’d been to prison before and that he didn’t want to back for a hate crime — a statement he made in more derogatory terms. The defendant texted the building manager saying, “I am trying not to beat the blood out of the gay young man downstairs. Please remove me to another room or another building.” The victim was terrified and shaking. When contacted by police, the defendant admitted making the statements because of the victim’s sexual orientation. The defendant also has a pending fourth-degree assault case and told officers he takes medicine for schizophrenia.
The defendant called the victim a racial slur, tried to hit her with a stick, said he’d cut her head off and threatened to “beat her ass.” The defendant, who is white, also threatened to burn the victim, who is Black, and began compiling material to start a fire. Officers recovered a 4-foot stick. When charged, the defendant had a pending first-degree criminal trespass case in Snohomish County District Court. He also has a criminal history that includes a no-contact/protection order violation.
The defendant demonstrated violent, Anti-Asian behavior toward multiple victims on two occasions. The first was against an Asian woman driving with her kids, ages 5 and 10. He swore at the woman and punched his firsts together yelling, “Get out, get out!” and threw items at her car. A few days later, the defendant again targeted two Asian victims. As they were attempting to drive by the defendant’s car, the defendant cut them off, blocked traffic and swore at them. He then got out of his vehicle, charged at them, and threw a plastic item at their vehicle. The victims believed they were in imminent danger.
The white defendant, showing escalating behavior in her hatred of her Asian neighbor, called the defendant slurs and told her “you’re not going to live very long.” The victim believed the defendant’s actions were racially motivated and was very scared when the threats were made. The defendant’s criminal history includes hit and run and a violation of a domestic violence protection order.
The defendant entered a Metro bus in Auburn and targeted the Hispanic woman who was riding with her son. He gave her the finger, pressed his fingers into her temple, called her an illegal immigrant and said — in more vulgar terms — that he should reported her to immigration officials. The defendant has convictions for assault, theft and giving a false statement. In an earlier domestic violence assault case — one in which the then-32-year-old defendant was charged with wearing a clown mask and holding a knife 2 inches from his 16-year-old nephew’s chin — the defendant’s father described his son as recently displaying unusual behavior, such as talking to himself in the dark. As part of his conviction, he was ordered to provide proof of a mental health evaluation and follow all recommended treatment.
This information is current as of May 5, 2021. This post is not expected to be updated, but additional updates can be found through the Electronic Court Records using each case number.