Seattle Top Cop Tells Public to Call 911 If They Hear ‘Racist Name-Calling’ Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Amid a coronavirus outbreak that has hit Washington state particularly hard, the chief of the Seattle police department on Monday urged residents to contact law enforcement to report “racist name calling.”

During a “chief’s brief” video segment, Police Chief Carmen Best and local journalist Lori Matsukawa issued a public service announcement about hate crimes in the age of coronavirus.

“Hate crimes have no place in our community,” Matsukawa said. “We are all trying to deal with the COVID-19 public health crisis together. If you are a victim of a hate crime or hate-based harassment, please call 911.”

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Best chimed into assure the public that her department would “document and investigate every reported hate crime.”

“Even racist name-calling should be reported to police. If you aren’t sure if a hate crime occurred, call 911. We are here to help,” the city’s top law enforcement official said.

Reason senior editor Robby Soave criticized Best in a report published on Tuesday, saying she may need to get her “priorities straightened out” and noting that “engaging in racist speech is not itself a criminal action.”

Washington experienced the first major U.S. outbreak of COVID-19 and has been among the hardest-hit states.

As of Monday, there have been at least 217 coronavirus deaths in Washington. Many of those deaths have come in the Seattle area, clustered around a long-term nursing care facility in the suburb of Kirkland where the respiratory illness first surfaced in the United States.

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At least 3,883 people have died from coronavirus in the United States, where the number of confirmed cases has surged past 187,000.

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