King County prosecutor, council member propose hate crimes task force

County leaders say the proposal will give better resouces to prosecute and investigate hate crimes.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn and King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg are putting forward a proposal to add resources for a specific hate crime response unit with four deputy prosecuting attorneys.

Already this year the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed 10 hate crimes in King County, including three with Asian Pacific/Islander victims. In the most recent case, a man was accused of targeting Asian women and children in two separate incidents.

King County has seen an increase in hate crimes since 2018, with 59 hate crimes reported in 2020, that is nearly double the amount recorded in 2018.

“This investment would ensure that victims of these heinous crimes, as well as their family and community, receive the justice and peace that they deserve,” said Dunn.

The hate crime task force proposal suggests the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office hire two full-time deputy prosecuting attorneys, one victim advocate and one paralegal to support the office’s prosecution of hate crimes.

“This proposal adds a welcome and necessary boost to the capacity of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to address these crimes and to continue to work with our community to increase hate crime reporting.” said Satterburg.

The proposal also emphasized efforts to more formally and consistently engage with marginalized communities, provide more robust training and coordination with law enforcement on investigations of hate crimes, have more time and resources to fully analyze and potentially strengthen referred hate crime cases, and to provide support services and crisis management for hate crime victims.

The proposal is estimated to cost nearly $550,000 in 2021 if adopted.


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