The Seattle City Council may alter the Seattle Municipal Code to change the way the City Attorney’s Office prosecutes hate crimes.
The change would remove the current designation — “malicious harassment” — and add a “special allegation of hate crime” designation that could be added to assault, harassment or property destruction cases.
The change would mean that the City Attorney would have to prove that the suspect committed a crime intentionally rather than maliciously, a higher standard.
It would also allow the City Attorney’s Office to prosecute hate crimes against all protected classes, such as race and sexual orientation.
The prosecution of cases would also change. Attorneys would prosecute the underlying charges — assault, harassment and property destruction — and add the special allegation. That means that if the attorney fails to prove the special hate crime allegation, the underlying charge would still be prosecuted.
The Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts committee is expected to vote on the matter on July 10.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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