Hate crimes are becoming ever more common across the country — but perhaps nowhere more strikingly than in Washington D.C.
“In Washington, the number of attacks investigated by police as bias-motivated reached an all-time high of 204 last year,” reports the Washington Post. “The District had the highest per capita hate-crime rate of any major city in the country,” according to an expert on hate and extremism at California State University at San Bernardino.
According to the Post, nearly half the District’s suspected hate crimes in 2018 targeted people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Yet hate-crime prosecutions in the nation’s capital have plummeted, even as the number of people arrested on those charges … has soared,” the newspaper says, based on its analysis of “more than 200,000 D.C. police and court records.” (Emphasis added.)
Jessie Liu, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for the District, declared when she took office that as “a woman of color,” she took hate crimes very seriously. Liu declined multiple requests for an interview to explain why prosecutions have fallen so low, the Post says.
“This is a red flag,” said David Friedman, the Anti-Defamation League’s vice president of law enforcement and community security told the Post. “When you have that high of a number of [suspected hate crimes] and you do not have hate-crime prosecutions, you have to be concerned about the statement that makes.” Friedman knows D.C.’s hate-crime law well; he helped write it, 30 years ago.
Nearly half the District’s suspected hate crimes in 2018 targeted people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the Post.
“Ruby Corado, a prominent Washington advocate for LGBTQ rights, and other activists argue that what’s happening reflects the priorities of President Trump, who … has rolled back rights and protections for minorities, especially the LGBTQ community,” the newspaper says.