HELP: I’m Trying to Document All Verifiable Acts of Hate-Based Battery Violence (political, race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.)
This is serious. I’m attempting to document post-election “battery violence.” I have every verified occurrence listed in numbered order with links on this post that I’ve been able to document through several hours of research and vetting. I am specifically talking about battery/physical assaults, and those that are confirmed in the mainstream press and/or with police reports. It has to be tied to the election (Donald Trump’s win), bigotry, xenophobia, or racism. This is simply someone in the United States of America getting smacked, kicked, physically hurt, or worse — not threatened — because of this whole shit-show election result.
Am I missing any? Surely, I’m omitting several. These are my totals of battery violence that I will update regularly based on comments and additional research (Last update: 11/29/2016; last “check-in” was 12/8/2016, so no changes):
- 3 that are “Hate Crime,” anti-protester, or committed by Trump supporters
- 7 that are “Anti-Trump” and/or beat downs against Trump supporters
The most violent acts I first saw post-election were, ironically, black on white and directed at Donald Trump for President supporters. NONE in several hours of research since the election and social media posts by an overwhelming left-leaning set of friends surpass a heinous act in my home city of Chicago that was videotaped and shared nationwide that showed:
- A flash mob beat a man senseless (“Yeah, he’s one of those white boy Trump guys”)
- Four in the all-black group also stole his car with the victim hanging on for dear life at 70 miles per hour on Roosevelt Road two blocks south and a couple miles west from where I work.
This surprised me given the intense amount of attention on social networks and by media and advocacy groups on “hate crimes” spiking — I thought there’d be something comparable. There’s not. Everyone from the Southern Poverty Law Center to Black Lives Matter advocate Shaun King are claiming hundreds of examples of “hate,” which I no doubt they’re collecting vast numbers of stories in their open portals. I also get into that analysis below, as well as a longer analysis on “hate crime” FBI and government data.
However, so far I’ve found 10 verified acts of direct physical violence (fisticuffs, kicking, battery), and only 3 directed at an anti-Trump protester, religious minority, person of color, or otherwise traditionally marginalized citizen.
This rather upends the dominant media narrative.
3 ACTS of ANTI-PROTESTER, PRO-TRUMP and/or RACIST VIOLENCE (getting punched, etc.) POST-ELECTION
1. The single worst “attack” against anti-Trump protesters is a blindside push down the stairs at Ohio State University documented on video. It is mentioned in this Quartz article, among dozens of other online publications across the country.
However, the shoving was committed by person intellectual disability (Asperger Syndrome) and was soon after reported he was upset by Trump’s win and wasn’t a right-wing attacker.
(Sadly, I’m reporting this the day after a brutal knife and vehicle attack at Ohio State University that sent 11 people to the hospital by a teenage Muslim student who said he was “afraid to pray” on campus. He was killed by police. If this isn’t a self-fulling prophecy I don’t know what is, as the perpetrator said: “I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media.”)
2. Nov 28, 2016, I (finally) find the first “racist hate crime” arrest of man who “wanted to punch a Mexican.”
Lead sentence to this LA Times story refers to this incident: “In Redwood City, a man slugged a gas station employee and told police he did it because he wanted to hit a Mexican.”
3. Found this verified act of violence upon searching for one of “girl punched by Trump supporter.” That one was posted on Instagram in May, and is not corroborated by witnesses or police. This one is: “A supporter of President-elect Donald Trump punched a woman in the face after arguing with her about politics on Saturday night at Bar Tabac, a French restaurant in Brooklyn, according to witnesses and the eatery itself.”
7 ACTS of ANTI-TRUMP (actual) VIOLENCE POST-ELECTION
1. “Yeah, it’s one of them white boy Trump guys.” Brutal mob beating in Chicago receiving national headlines as a man nearly gets killed trying to stop his own vehicle from being stolen.
Aftermath of video, first person story by victim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKFQ5i9jXmA
DNA Info in Chicago reports: In the 32-second video, two men, possibly teens, are seen punching and kicking an older man in the street. As the two men attacked the victim, one witness yelled: “You voted Trump?” and “Beat his ass.” Another witness said, “Don’t vote Trump” and “Steal his stuff.”
The Chicago Tribune reports about the victim dragged away in the video and nearly killed (see end of video at top of the Tribune page; his interview is at the bottom): “They were beating me to have me let go of the car,” David Wilcox said. “The guy went to 70 and 80 mph. If I let go, I was dead. He slowed to 45. … He tried to push the door open. …So he stepped on it again. … God was watching over for me. I rolled about five or seven times into the oncoming traffic lanes.”
Interestingly, Snopes and Southern Poverty Law Center want to diminish this as a “result of a traffic altercation.” But they do not report the fact the victim, Wilcox, claimed he told his attackers he was a Trump voter before the assault in the Tribune video. If it’s not political, racial motivations certainly could be at play.
At the very least, one must ask: Reverse the optics and imagine how this would play out in the mainstream media? Would it become the “hate crime story of the year”? Would it get more attention? Is there even a comparable example in recent years? I can think of one two decades ago during the LA riots: Reginald Denny.
2. 17-year-old punched a kid in face for trump sign. Battery charges and felony battery by attacking a school official, too.
“The officer tried to de-escalate the situation, but Hudson stuck his middle finger in the officer’s face, paced around the room and began punching filing cabinets and knocking things off the desk, police said. ‘When I see that white boy again, I’m going to punch him in his face,’ Hudson said, according to the report.”
3. Teen girl brutally beaten and accused of being racist because she supported Trump on Instagram. It starts with the perpetrator saying, “I want to do this,” then her glasses are put down and the beating begins.
4. Man wearing a Trump “Make America Great” hat choked on NYC Subway after being asked if he was a Trump supporter.
5. 11 year-old Trump supporter attacked by several classmates day after election in Houston suburb of Stafford, Texas. http://www.fox26houston.com/news/216600137-story
FOX Reports: “These boys decided to ask the classroom, ‘Who voted for Donald Trump?’ And then I said, ‘I did.’ And then they come over here and jerked me out of my seat,” said the student. “Before I could get up they started kicking me and punching me.”
6. During a post-election day student protest, 15-year-old teen wearing Trump hat gets assaulted by four fellow students, kicked in ribs.
Student got hit wearing “Make America Great” hat. According to a local media reports, “The group surrounded the teen, punching him repeatedly, then threw him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly in the ribs. It is not yet clear what led up to the incident, but Maj. Michael English with Rockville police said the victim was not the aggressor.”
ABC News Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2MeHUu-YzE
Of course, Brietbart shares these stories for dubious reasons, but their video is ABC News. You will notice I avoid all right-wing, racist, alt-right, or “faux news” websites in this post.
7. Assault charge: Two men arrested in Connecticut for “Beating up a man holding a Trump sign.”
“A man waving an American flag and holding a Trump sign was standing on a traffic island around noon when the two suspects got out of their car and began punching him, Meriden police said.”
Hand Wringing, Outrage, and Facts on Hate Crime and U.S. Violence
I’ve poured over dozens, possible more than 100 articles. I’ve seen no violent hate crimes as physically brutal as in Chicago, nor as well-documented and violent as in the subways of NYC, or high schools in Orlando, Maryland or California — all directed at people who did nothing more than support billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump. There’s even a grade school beat down in the suburbs of Houston. For example, CNN offers a regularly updated laundry list of “threats” of violence before actually mentioning “actual” battery violence — the latter are all directed at Trump Supporters. You have to scroll way down for those. I won’t minimize the first ones which are acts driven by racism and hatred — they’re awful. They’re just not a physical “battery” or an act. (I was told by a lawyer friend once I was “assaulted” when a teen tried to knock me off my bike, but never actually touched me, to steal my cell phone.)
If there’s so much “hate” in America and all the racist poison has risen to the surface after Trump’s marginal electoral victory, wouldn’t we have mountains of tangible examples beyond swastikas? Should we wonder why there isn’t photo after photo of beaten up persons or mug shots of the perpetrators (like those above)? Or videos promoted everywhere in the wake of Black Lives Matter in a country where 68% of Americans have a smart phone? After all, the rise of alt-Right white nationalism and xenophobic hatred are omnipresent conversations in AmeriKKKa — what are the results? Based on the available evidence, less than 1% of all hate crime incidents since Trump’s election have risen to the level of battery violence. There are more than twice as many reported incidents of battery violence directed at Trump supporters than against minorities or anti-Trump protestors.
Certainly, we’re hearing every violent act splashed on our Facebook pages, news feeds, and cable TV. Especially with the hyper focus on existential fear and an onslaught of “hate crime” news stories since Donald Trump’s not-quite-majority-by-two-million-votes electoral win. Honestly, the thought of Trump as president continually depresses me.
Still, the internet oxygen this week is sucked up by “Racist White Woman Trump Rant in Chicago Store” which just landed on Time Magazine’s radar. Isn’t the mass shaming a bit much? The verbally abused employees’ GoFundMe page has passed $30,000 of a $400 goal, as well as 3 million YouTube views. This compares to a God-fearing “white boy Trump guy” with a GoFundMe page that only tops out at $7,000 of a $33,000 goal for a new car. That’s $23,000 less, and not only only was he beaten and nearly killed, his car was stolen! One can know the definition of white privilege backwards and forwards, understand the social and racial politics at play, and still know full well the concept of proportionality has been completely lost.
P.S. I’m not defending the clearly mentally unhinged Trump-voting woman who called a black employee an “animal” — the most racist thing she said in an 11-minute tirade-filled video. But she was publicly doxed on my social network — phone number, email, and home address — as well as her husband. Or is it this husband? Eventually, the public outcry forced an awkward statement by her ex-employer Sinai Health System saying she wasn’t working there anymore — maybe she went bat-shit crazy two months before, who knows? Even in this corner of the Web, comment “likes” soared into the hundreds and nuance was lost. Is this evidence enough of an unhealthy national obsession?
Part of me does believe this “New Correctness” (my term for Political Correctness on steroids) of inflating every wrongdoing to Level 10 in social media or in public, or policing language, is one reason why Trump won. Conservatives obviously think so. Even Trump-hating conservatives. And, yes, liberals, too. The landscape has altered since Obama became president. Perhaps the expectations were too high for this “post-racial” president, and the cultural and political left went into overdrive just like extreme factions on the right have for years. And if you didn’t agree? Well, then you might very well be a misogynistic mansplainer or a white supremacist like, um, Bernie flipping Sanders. Which side represented “freedom” and “fairness” to the vast middle more? What realities were distorted? But I digress. We’re talking real, verifiable pain here, and who is on the receiving end. I only split it by two groups because that’s the narrative brought forward by ideological poles in this debate. “Who suffers more at the hands of the other?” And it also begs the question, “What is suffering?”
Facts & Analysis on Hate Crime and U.S. Violence (It is OK to skip to the Southern Poverty Law Center graphs on harassment if all the number-crunching below gives you headaches; updated 12/8/2016)
Obviously, there are many times more “violent hate crimes” than 10 since November 8 — there must several dozens if not hundreds. But what’s substantiated and not rumor? As I said, I’ll keep updating the incidents here on this post (a working document). First, remember that although the FBI Uniform Crime Reports are often the most referenced guidepost by media, they’re only referring to what’s reported to law enforcement with a host of limitations, and don’t include the “dark figure of crime,” the unreported ones. And hate crimes require additional work to be counted. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Statistics surveys victims and provides an estimate for the entire U.S. population, looking at what’s both reported and unreported. The FBI numbers are many, many times smaller than the DOJ, with several discrepancies.
But the best I can here, I will try to stick with apples to apples comparisons, while also breaking down some numbers by the FBI and DOJ.
The new FBI hate crime report of 2015 shows 5,850 incidents with 36.5% involving physical violence. That’s roughly 2000. The breakdown of these categories are the following: Simple assault (24.5%), aggravated assault (11.6%), rape (0.22%), or murder (0.14%). Remove simple assaults, which include things like chasing someone or aggressively grabbing an article of clothing, and we’re left with about 700 hate crime acts that involve battery violence per year (58 per month).
Vox says that according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 35% of hate crimes are ultimately reported to the police in a news report highlighting the lack of reliability in federal hate crime data. Mother Jones said the same, and mentioned that the Anti-Defamation League says 88% of the 15,000 participating police departments (out of nearly 18,000 total) reported zero hate crimes to the FBI. That factoid I would need to double-check. It is true four out of five (80%) police departments send hate crime numbers to the FBI, and inconsistently year to year. So there’s some gaps, yet I would call them minor. I think Vox and Mother Jones failed in wrestling with the conundrum I found last March: The U.S. Department of Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center trumpets more than 250,000 hate crime incidents, which is 40 times larger than the FBI numbers, yet both government institutions claim far less than 10 of those crimes annually were homicides. Is this saying 1 in 40 hate crimes is even worth reporting or manages to works its way into the “hate crime” category by law enforcement? How come the DOJ doesn’t “scale up” with 40 times as many hate crime homicides — but in fact keeps the same number as the FBI? [SEE: Nov 2017 update a few paragraphs below. I missed an obvious quandary as to how the DOJ survey says 35% — or 40% — of 250,000 supposed hate crimes are reported to the police. That would make well over 100,000 hate crime reports, when the FBI counts roughly 6,000. That’s a vast discrepancy. And begs the question: Which is more reliable?]
Even sexual assault, possibly the most underreported of crimes, is reported to occur anywhere from 1 in 5 times, or as low as 1 in 20. (The Washington Post reports that “experts estimate a range of 5 to 20 percent of sexual assaults being reported to law enforcement.”) According to the DOJ, unreported violent crime occurs in 1 of 2 instances. Therefore, that 40 times difference for hate crimes smells fishy to me. But I admit I’m not an expert at reading the DOJ Hate Crime Survey.
At any rate…
Simply look at the DOJ Bureau of Statistics’ Hate Crime Victimization Special Report for 2003–11 and FBI Hate Crime Statistics Report and do the math:
- DOJ Bureau of Statistics (basis for estimates by the Southern Poverty Law Center): From 2007–11, 237,920 out of 259,700 hate crime incidents annually (92%) are violent victimization hate crimes. Broken down, this includes: Rape and sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault (no physical contact). In 2011, there were 181,190 violent assaults (without gender bias) and 194,390 violent assaults (with gender bias) — again, these include simple assault. Broken down further to “seriously violent” assault, which is 29% of the total 2007–11 (See page 4, Table 4), that would be 75,000 seriously violent assaults. Compared to all 1.2 million aggravated assault victims nationwide in 2014, according to the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, I calculate 6% of total violent assaults are hate crime-related. Maybe.
- FBI Data Crunching: “35% of hate crimes are reported to police” means tripling the 2000 annual documented violent hate crime acts = 6000 annual “violent acts.” This total is nearly 40 times less than the DOJ’s estimates! And this is a “wide net” of violent acts that could include actions like pulling off a hijab or making threats at Muslims, which happened after the election of Trump.
- FBI Data Crunching Part Deux: Let’s narrow that “wide net” to catch only battery violence. Using the same math on the undercount (x 3), and multiplying that with my data above (700), one can estimate a person lays a violent hand on somebody due to prejudicial “hate” in 2100 instances annually. Thus, this number is probably the most accurate, and I would feel comfortable saying, “Around 2000 people get punched or worse in the U.S. over nothing more than hatred towards their race, gender, sexuality or religion.”
- FBI Data Crunching Part Trois: But in terms of official numbers — for apples to apples comparisons and to get a percentage — that’s still 700 hate crime acts of battery violence out of 390,233 FBI reported violent crimes. Thus, I calculate only .2% of total violent crimes are hate crime-related (or 1 in 500).
- Note again: For the FBI, “violent crime” does not include simple assault, but around 62% are aggravated assault and nearly 30% are robberies with the rest rape and murder. So if you removed robbery, you could bump up that hate crime percentage to .3% of the total. It’s still miniscule. Again, I can’t find anyone who crunches this data for perspective. Neither have I been able to Google a resource that explains why the “violent crime” percentage isn’t proportional between the FBI and DOJ (see above: 6% compared to .2%, a difference by a factor of 30). Then again, I may be the first person crunching these numbers and comparing them.
- The U.S Bureau of Justice Survey claims from 2004 to 2011 there is “an average of 6 hate crime homicides per year.” Thus, hate crime murders are about 1 in 2500 murders.
- And check this out: “In 2007–11, whites, blacks, and Hispanics had similar rates of violent hate crime victimization.” Wait, every ethnicity is victimized the same? You won’t see that reflected at all in the FBI hate crime tables. Which one is correct?
Frankly, there’s a lot more questions than answers in understanding how deep hate runs in the United States — and the above I re-edited 12/8/2016 extensively from a few brief bullet points I had before, so my apologies. On one hand, the U.S. Justice Department claims only 35% of hate crimes are reported to police. But when one calculates the difference between FBI (reported to police) and DOJ (survey) raw numbers, it’s a 40–50 multiplier difference — i.e. only 2% of “hate crimes” appear to be reported to authorities. By comparison, 23% of aggravated assaults are reported to authorities.
Then you have the numbers I ran — if correct — that say it’s either 6% (DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics) or .2% (FBI) of all U.S. violent assaults are “hate crime” violent assaults. How can one agency have a percentage 30 times greater than the other? This isn’t about under-reporting or whole numbers, this is percentages tabulated within the same government agency. So you have to wonder: Where’s the government expert who can explain the difference to Americans and tell it straight?
Thus, I’ve yet to make full sense how the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department report completely different data or how to reconcile the two, so I’m still working on it. Skip to the bottom of this post if want more hard numbers, such as how the U.S. averages no more than 4–6 hate crime murders a year, out of approximately 15,000 total. Or see the “Fall 2016 Update” in my March 2016 Medium post.
Nov 2017 Update: DOJ and FBI Numbers, Really Screwy
I definitely think there’s something screwy with how data is captured in DOJ reports, and I didn’t catch how obvious there’s a massive inconsistency with FBI’s reports. CNN once again tackled the issue of hate crimes in April 2017 after a black man purposely gunned down 3 white people in Fresno, California. CNN posed a simple question: “Why are hate crimes so problematic?” Basically, they’re just hard to define and tabulate. CNN reported similar data to what I wrote above:
After calculating the survey responses, the bureau estimated that 293,800 hate crimes occurred in 2012: 50 times more crimes than the FBI reported in 2012. The survey estimated that 60% of the hate crimes submitted weren’t reported to the police.
Wait, are they really saying that 4 out of 10 of those quarter-million surveyed hate crimes WERE reported to the police? How does that reconcile with the far lower FBI numbers?
More importantly, why didn’t I bring that up one year ago when I wrote, “35% of hate crimes are ultimately reported to the police”? (Probably ‘cos there’s too many numbers to chew on, like Chex Mix at a high school graduation party.)
Let’s crunch those hate crime numbers:
- 60% of 293,000 is 175,000 = hate crimes not reported to police.
- Thus, supposedly 118,000 are reported to the police, representing 40% of 293,000.
- There’s 6,000 reported to FBI and that represents 80% of total police stations submitting hate crime data. So you could estimate there’s 7,200 total captured by police overall. 118,000/7,200 = 16 times difference when logic would dictate it should be 1–2 times difference. There’d be nearly zero difference (1x) if all hate crimes told to police are written down “hate crime” in their reports. It would be twice the difference (2x) if HALF of hate crimes aren’t flagged as such.
- This result would indicate police don’t write “hate crime” in 94% of reports, and THAT would be a major news story.
- Also, there’s NO OTHER CRIME other than “hate crime” where survey reports (DOJ) are 16 to 50 times higher than the FBI reports. Why is that?
The same confusion is within that Vox article where I got that 35% undercount figure, and perhaps the numbers I tally above are supposed to be crunched a different way and applied against the FBI data. Vox wrote the following in Fall 2016 and noted an underreport range close to 40% CNN mentioned:
Consider one statistic: Over the past two decades, the FBI reported between 6,000 and 10,000 hate crimes each year in the US. But when the US Bureau of Justice Statistics surveyed a large segment of the population between 2007 and 2011 to try to gauge what the real number of hate crimes is, it concluded that there are nearly 260,000 — more than a quarter of a million — annually. This means that the FBI is potentially undercounting hate crimes by a magnitude of more than 40 times.
ONLY 35 PERCENT OF HATE CRIMES ARE ULTIMATELY REPORTED TO THE POLICE
The Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that only 35 percent of hate crimes are ultimately reported to the police, meaning that cops are unaware of roughly two-thirds of hate crimes in their communities.
Again, I’m not sure Vox can even see the paradox and confusion they invoke here in two paragraphs and an all-caps pull-out quote. How can the FBI undercount hate crimes by 40 times (DOJ = 260,000) AND point out that “only 35% of hate crimes are ultimately reported” to police, which is an undercount of about 3 times less (FBI date of 6,000 x 3 = 18,000)?
See how confusing this is?
Southern Poverty Law Center & Shaun King/Ushahidi Show Hundreds of Incidents, Only a Handful with Violence
Southern Poverty Law Center claims more than 700 cases compiled via their online portal in the three weeks since the election, mentioning 27 “anti-Trump” incidents. Shaun King using the platform “Ushahidi” claims 300, with 80 “acts of violence” in the mix. But what are those “violent acts” exactly? Again, I have searched on their pages and elsewhere and come up with three concrete ones.
A quick analysis on the Southern Poverty Law Center data shows how few claims rise to a level of physical violence. Based on my numbers above:
- 3 cases of “battery violence” out of 674 (701 minus 27 anti-Trump)= .4%
- 7 cases of “battery violence” out of 27 = 26%
Those are some vastly disparate averages. Are anti-Trump “haters” 50x more effective pugilists? Logic may dictate there’s something fishy going on in the world of social justice and how the media reports about it.
Are hate crimes actually rising? I know, it sounds like a ridiculous question — possibly as ridiculous as President-elect Trump saying, “Stop it” when he first heard of racist incidents. (An anti-Nazi Tweet would be nice.) But it’s worth asking, as this is the World Wide Web we’re talking about — rumors abound and social issues become “mountains out of molehills” faster than you can ask if a dress is blue or gold. A November 26 Quartz article (“Are hate crimes really on the rise in America? Here’s a guide to the data”) directed me to several leads, and makes the best stab at analyzing all the areas documenting post-election violence and threats. I generally trust Quartz’s bias and their diverse staff of contributors. They ask rhetorically before diving in: “Has there been an increase in hate crime in the US since the election? Or just an increase in the amount of media coverage those crimes have received? Perhaps there’s been an increase in victims reporting incidents on social media? All of those questions can be difficult to answer, especially for the country as a whole.”
After diving in, Quartz reporter Keith Collins could see the obvious: The SPLC merely opened up a portal to collect incidents after the election, but there’s no way of comparing them to previous trends, or even to question whether the heavy social media and news-driven promotion of this portal — and the hyperfocus on hate crimes, too — increased the total. Was it the same after Obama was elected in 2008? After Bush in 2000? In the months before the election? We honestly don’t know, beyond what I could determine above, which was only 3 out of about 700 incidents were decisively violent and brutal acts. Quartz wrote:
“What the data do not show: Although this collection has been cited as evidence of a “spike” in hate crimes since the election, the Center has not been collecting data for long enough to show any trends. The SPLC also pointed out in a recent blog post that while they’re making attempts to verify the incidents, they haven’t verified them all…. The SPLC also maintains a larger dataset of more than 4,000 “hate incidents,” which is ‘drawn primarily from media sources.’ The dataset contains incidents from January 2003 to May 2015, and includes non-criminal activity like rallies. This sort of data may provide some insight into how hate crimes and related incidents are covered by the media, but not in how frequently they occur.”
NBC News provided a succinct and solid analysis on hate crimes after Dylann Roof killed nine African Americans in a historical black church in 2015. It mostly indicated instances of hate crime were going down since the 1990s (as most crime has):
The number of hate crimes has fallen by about one-fourth over the period of 1995–2012. In 1995, the FBI counted 7,947 incidents. The count remained generally steady, with ups and downs, until the late 2000s, when it dipped into the 6,000s. These changes could be attributable, in part, to variations in the agencies reporting to the FBI from year to year. The number of racial/ethnic incidents reported has fallen steadily, from about 6,000/year to about 3,500.
Unlike the decline in racial hate crimes, religious hate crimes have remained steady, falling only slightly.
Race has generally fallen as a percentage of hate crimes (from about 60 percent to the high 40s), while sexual orientation has generally risen in share (from the low teens to about 20 percent).
My bias? I admit being a suffering journalist and wayward liberal — but I’m truly hopeful for better outcomes for the poorest (some say “racialized”) among us. If one reads my Medium posts, you’ll detect a whiff of “aren’t we blowing things out of proportion?” Over and over. To some, that’s gaslighting, which I’m finding the most nonsensical and empty of argument stoppers. Mostly, I want to be an honest broker when we’re talking about society, for example the results of violence by bigotry or racism. I want to understand beyond the anecdotal how extensive systemic racial bias is by police or how overwhelming institutional racism in our justice system. So far, I’m not finding it very systemic or overwhelming.
False “Hate Crime” Violence Claims? I Found One Rather Easily …
I won’t get into all of the so-called “fake claims of hate crimes” for now. There are several, but that’s a bit of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Frankly, if 90% of the actions are occurring — and are demonstrably serious — and 10% false, it’s still a serious matter for the American public. Sincere questioning and analysis are important, however. If you want a critique, Reason.com posts a reasonable one, though I’m sure some will dismiss it.
But I will say I was surprised the first time I found one — and quite by accident. It was also one of the only cases of battery violence mentioned in two widely shared articles entailing at least two dozen incidents.
Here’s how I searched for it and discovered a “false report” as linked by the website Buzzfeed themselves. Buzzfeed still hasn’t bothered to change the provocative headline indicating a hate crime occurred (“A student at Bowling Green State University in Ohio reported being assaulted by three white men and called a racial slur”). Undoubtedly, readers arriving late to the article won’t even bother to link to the updated source, published only three days after the original story. Who says “fake news” — or bad reporting — is only promulgated by the alt-right?
It all started when I read a November 15 article in the highly respected public interest news source ProPublica that included a laundry list of hate crimes, but mentions only a single act of “violence.” They wrote it was directed towards “an African-American college student assaulted in Ohio.” It linked to Buzzfeed, a popular “click-bait” online portal for news.
So I looked for that act of “violence” via ProPublica’s link to this Buzzfeed link also published on November 15 (“Here Are 28 Reported Racist And Violent Incidents After Donald Trump’s Victory”). That search took me to #24 in Buzzfeed’s article: “A student at Bowling Green State University in Ohio reported being assaulted by three white men and called a racial slur, the university said.” Eureka.
So I clicked on the last word “said.”
Indeed, that link which remains on Buzzfeed takes you to a letter from the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost updating the Bowling Green community about two false claims of assault. Speculatively, I’ll assume the original post discussed how Bowling Green State University was taking these claims seriously, and they did. Then they updated it on November 18 with the facts — the student lied — as well as calls for unity.
Says the Vice Provost in a Letter to Students (and diligent Buzzfeed clickers): “I want to update you on the status of the investigations of the two alleged assaults that were reported over the last two weeks. You may recall that last week a student reported that she was assaulted on Crim Street near campus. On Tuesday, a student reported that he was attacked behind the Student Recreation Center. Investigations by the Bowling Green Police Department and the BGSU Police Department have revealed that neither of these incidents occurred as reported. Filing a false report is a serious offense. In addition to any charges by police, students may be held accountable under the student code of conduct.”
Indeed, this ABC headline said it all, “BG police say student lied about politically driven attack.”
What Are the Numbers for Hate Crimes in 2015? Was There a Trump Bump?
These are the facts, with fresh November 2016 FBI hate crime reports for the previous year:
- According to the U.S. Justice Department’s Hate Crime Victimization Report: “Whites, blacks, and Hispanics had similar rates of violent hate crime victimization in 2007–11.” Said another way, no single racial group receives a disproportionate amount of hate crime violence. Is that common knowledge?
- The U.S. Justice Department uses the the “large” number of 259,700 annual nonfatal violent and property hate crime victimizations against persons age 12 or older residing in U.S. households. The FBI reported there were 5,850 total hate crime incidents reported to police last year.
- The overall increase in hate crimes is nearly 7%, according to FBI’s hate crime statistics 2015 compiled by roughly 80% of police departments. Half of religious hate crimes are directed at Jewish persons, who are just under 2% of the population. The 67% spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes doesn’t enumerate into the thousands of incidents, but 257 in 2015 from 154 in 2014. Muslims make up about 1% of the population. But is it a “Trump Bump”? It’s quite possible, as his anti-Muslim rhetoric has been beyond the pale, according to many critics. Experts also agree that FBI hate crime stat increases aren’t always reliable and may be attributed to an increase in the number of jurisdictions and agencies reporting. For example, last year’s report covered 89% of the U.S. population, and an increase from the previous two years. The much publicized increase in Muslim hate crime incidents, while still far below Jewish reports in total rate, may indicate greater awareness in reporting rather than a clear two-thirds uptick in Islamophobia.
- 4–5 of 15,000 annual murders are hate crime-related, according to the anti-racist left Southern Poverty Law Center. Even the U.S. Department of Justice verified in an eight-year period there’s an average of 6–7 per year. Thus, hate crime murders are .04% of overall homicides (about 1 in 2500).
- Let’s not forget: Perspective. Across the USA annually, there are 1.2 million violent assault victims and 5 million violent acts. Homicides are projected to increase 31.5% over the past two years according to a Brennan Center for Justice Report, passing 16,000 total. There are 7,993,631 property crimes in 2015, too.
There are so many people pointing in so many directions. Help me put together a complete list of verified battery assaults. Then we can understand the real picture of this violence that’s supposedly tearing up this country. Or we can take a breath, and remember the words of a great 20th century president.