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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Police investigate vandalism of GOP headquarters as a hate crime

Spokane County Republicans say their headquarters were vandalized when someone used a marker to write “Refugees welcome” and “Nazi scum” across the front door and several windows. (Courtesy of Stephanie Cates)

Spokane Police are investigating the vandalism of the Spokane County Republican headquarters as a hate crime.

A person used marker to scrawl “Refugees welcome” and “Nazi scum” across the front door and windows of the GOP office along East Second Street.

The messages were apparently in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s executive order barring many immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries from entering the country.

Republican Party chairwoman Stephanie Cates said she was notified of the vandalism Sunday morning. She said the marker – a temporary kind commonly used to create advertisements on shop windows – had been thrown in some bushes and was turned over to police.

Officer Shane Phillips, a spokesman for the Spokane Police Department, said the crime is being investigated as malicious harassment – commonly called a hate crime. That statute says a person is guilty of malicious harassment “if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap.”

“It’s chilling to consider that speaking out politically may expose one to threats to our private property, or worse yet, our safety,” Cates wrote in a message to The Spokesman-Review. “We hope that the public would do their research on the facts related to political issues of the day, rather than act out of fear or hysteria.”

The Spokane GOP shares the offices at 1011 E. Second Ave. with the campaign to re-elect Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Democrats decried the vandalism on Sunday and offered to assist in cleanup and repair.

“This type of behavior is never acceptable. We call on people to actively engage in civic life, without hatred, violence, fear,” the party said in a Facebook post.