Hate, Bias & Malicious Harassment Crimes
Hate crimes, bias crimes and malicious harassment are terms to describe someone maliciously and intentionally acting against another because of their perception of the victim’s protected status to inflict physical harm, cause property damage, or make threats that reasonably cause the victim to fear for their safety or property.
Crimes should be reported:
- Call 911 if an incident is happening, or just occurred.
- If the incident previously occurred, the immediate danger is over, and there are no injuries, call (425) 407-3999.
An officer will respond to the reported hate crime and fully investigate it. However:
- If you believe the incident was motivated by your status, inform the officer so it can be noted in the report.
- Provide the exact wording of what was said, regardless of how offensive it was.
- If there are witnesses, notify the officer at the scene.
If the incident was a hate crime, it will be investigated by a detective. If appropriate, criminal charges will be forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office for review and possible charging.
When is an incident considered a hate crime?
A crime is considered a hate crime if it was perpetrated because of the victims protected status. Washington state law defines malicious harassment (RCW 9A.36.080) as threats or physical violence perpetrated because:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender expression or identity, or
- Mental, physical, or sensory disability
What is not considered a hate crime?
Each incident is evaluated and might not be a hate crime:
- If a person is committing another crime and calls the victim a derogatory name.
- If a person uses insulting or derogatory words, but the recipient is not in reasonable fear of harm to their person or property.
- If the crime was not believed to be motivated because of the recipients protected status.
If an incident is not a crime, police have limited enforcement options but, it does not mean what occurred is right. Victims may have civil options, which carry a lower burden of proof where suspects may be liable for actual damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees and other costs.
Everett Police keeps detailed statistics on all bias incidents through our process of documentation and tracking. We encourage reporting every incident of this type.