Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Working Group releases recommendations to Legislature

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Multidisciplinary Hate Crime Advisory Working Group released its report to the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee today, outlining a comprehensive approach to better address hate crimes in Washington.
 
The group calls on the state to improve training for law enforcement, create new avenues for prosecutors to charge crimes and for schools and employers to better educate people about hate and bias.

“The need to improve how Washington state handles hate crimes has rarely been more clear or urgent,” Ferguson said. “This report provides a road map so we can demonstrate our commitment to the safety of all Washingtonians.”

Hate crimes in Washington

Washington state law defines a hate crime as an assault, threat, or property damage motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or mental, physical or sensory disability.

State data showed an increase in reported hate crimes from 175 in 2002 to 534 in 2018. Hate crimes are historically underreported.

The Legislature created the working group with support from the Attorney General’s Office in the 2019 legislative session with the goal of developing strategies to raise awareness of hate crimes and enhance law enforcement and the public’s responses to hate crimes and incidents. 

Rep. Javier Valdez, D-46 sponsored the bill, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Ryu and Pollet, and the Attorney General’s Office testified in support.

The 15-member, bipartisan group, with diverse membership including law enforcement and affected communities, adopted its 20 recommendations without any dissenting votes. Most votes were unanimous. There were three abstentions.

More information HERE


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