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.
Washington State is no place for hate. In a show of solidarity, @LoriMatsukawa joined me to remind everyone that hate has no place in our community. Report hate, including racist name calling, to 911. We are here to help, and will respond to investigate. #WeGotThisSeattle pic.twitter.com/cFGkYopbVW
— Chief Carmen Best (@carmenbest) March 31, 2020
“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.