A Spokane man discovered a pumpkin with a wooden stave driven into it, covered in racist slurs targeting Arabs.
“It’s just shocking that the racism and hatred is so close to home,” said Greg Stewart-Longhurst. “I think it’s just about fear. And I want to say we’re not afraid of (racists) in this neighborhood. We’re just appalled and disgusted.”
Stewart-Longhurst was walking near Azalea Drive and Rosamond Avenue in the West Hills neighborhood around 7 a.m. Thursday when he saw the pumpkin. When he first saw it he “thought maybe it said something else than what it did say.”
But on closer examination, he discovered the stave and pumpkin were covered in violent, racist slogans directed at Arabic people.
Stewart-Longhurst, who owns a certified public accounting firm in Spokane, said he went home and called Crime Check and the media. About an hour later he drove back by the spot and saw three police cars. Police told him they were going to try and draw fingerprints from the pumpkin, but “they didn’t sound too hopeful, let’s put it that way,” Stewart-Longhurst said.
Spokane police investigated the incident. There are no suspects, police spokesman Officer John O’Brien said in a text message.
Because the pumpkin was positioned to be easily visible, he believes the message was targeting a specific person or people, he said. He said he doesn’t know who that would be.
“It’s a very, very quiet, modest neighborhood,” he said. “All the neighbors are nice and take care of each other.”
According to FBI data released Nov. 13, reported hate crimes increased 5 percent nationwide in 2016. 6,100 incidents were reported in 2016, compared to 5,800 in 2015.
Locally, there have been a slew of hate crimes in the last year and a half. In October, police arrested a man suspected of punching a black man and shooting at his home. In September numerous racist flyers were distributed throughout Sandpoint. In February, racist posters were pasted throughout downtown Spokane. And, in November 2016, racist graffiti was spray-painted on the Martin Luther King Center.
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