Seattle’s chief of police mentioned in a Monday night time video that she needs residents to name 911 if known as racist names throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“Washington state is not any place for hate. In a present of solidarity between police and group, I am joined right now by Lori Matsukawa,” Chief of Police Carmen Greatest mentioned, referring to the retired KING 5 information anchor who joined her within the video.

“Hate crimes haven’t any place in our group,” Matsukawa continued. “We’re higher than that, Washington. We’re all making an attempt to cope with the COVID-19 public well being disaster collectively. In case you are a sufferer of a hate crime or hate-based harassment, please name 911.”

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“Precisely,” Greatest mentioned because the video in the reduction of to her. “We are going to doc and examine each reported hate crime. Even racist name-calling ought to be reported to police. We take this data very severely. If aren’t certain if a hate crime occurred, name 911. We’re right here to assist and can reply to research.”

“After we work collectively,” Matsukawa mentioned. “We’re safer collectively,” Greatest mentioned, ending her sentence.

Because the coronavirus pandemic has contaminated increasingly more Individuals, there’s been an uptick in incidents of bias in opposition to Asian-Individuals who say they’re being blamed for the coronavirus, which originated in China.

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The message to Seattle residents that they need to name 911 due to racist name-calling comes as Washington has the seventh most confirmed coronavirus instances of any state, as of Tuesday morning, with 5,187. It’s second solely to New York in deaths with 219.

Hate speech is broadly protected by the First Modification, that means there’s probably little the Seattle Police Division will be capable to do if an incident of racist name-calling is reported. The division would be capable to prosecute hate crimes, which beneath Washington state regulation embrace “bodily damage” to an individual, “bodily injury” to an individual’s property or threats that may put an affordable individual “in affordable concern of hurt to individual or property.”

The Washington state regulation on hate crimes clarifies that “[w]ords alone don’t represent a hate crime offense except the context or circumstances surrounding the phrases point out the phrases are a risk. Threatening phrases don’t represent a hate crime offense whether it is obvious to the sufferer that the individual doesn’t have the flexibility to hold out the risk.”