reporting Hate Crimes
The Definition of Hate and Bias-Related Crimes
The Redmond Police Department takes hate and bias-related crimes very seriously. If you experience malicious harassment but are not sure if it is technically a hate or bias crime, please contact police so we can investigate the incident.
If the incident is happening now, or just happened, call 911 immediately.
If the incident has already occurred and there are no injuries, call our 24-hour non-emergency line at 425-556-2500. You can also use our online crime tip form to remain anonymous.
Police response to a report of a hate crime is handled like any other call. However, it is important to share certain details of what occurred with responding officers.
- If you believe the incident was motivated by your status, ask the officer to make a note of that in the report.
- If you can, give the officer the exact wording of what was said, regardless of how offensive it is.
- If there are witnesses to the incident, point them out to the officers at the scene.
When is an incident considered a hate crime?
Protected statuses under Washington State Law:
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Expression or Identity
- Mental, physical or sensory handicap
A person can be charged with a hate crime if they commit any of the following acts because of the victim’s protected status:
- Cause physical injury to the victim or another person.
- Cause physical damage to or destroy the property of the victim or another person.
- Makes threats that cause a person or group to have reasonable fear of harm to their person or property.
Even if the victim does not belong to a certain protected status, if they were selected because they were perceived to be of that status, this is still considered a hate crime.
When is an incident not considered a hate crime?
If the suspect is in the process of committing another crime, and calls the victim a derogatory name, it does not automatically mean it is a hate or bias crime.
If the suspect uses insulting or derogatory words but does not place another person in a reasonable fear of harm to their person or property, this is not necessarily a hate or bias crime.
If the incident was a crime, but it was not believed to be motivated by your status, the police will still follow up on the crime to the full extent of the law. It just won’t be charged as a hate crime.
If the incident is not found to be a crime, there is often not much enforcement action police can take. Redmond Police very much encourage the reporting of every incident of this type so that it can be documented and tracked if necessary.
If police find there is no directly enforceable action that can be taken, this does not mean what happened to you wasn’t wrong. You sometimes have the option of bringing a civil cause of action against the suspect, which carries a lower burden of proof than criminal enforcement. The suspect may be liable to the victim for actual damages, punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and other incurred costs. You will need to contact a private attorney to start a civil action.