Newly sworn-in King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion. (File Photo)

Newly sworn-in King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion. (File Photo)

King County prosecuting attorney praises hate crime bill

Earlier this year, the state House and Senate passed a series of legislative fixes to laws that today prevent prosecutors from seeking accountability for some hate crimes.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed ESB 5623 into law on April 6, earning plaudits from King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion, who backed the hate crime bill.

“This bill,” said Manion, “takes the common sense step of recategorizing hate crimes as crimes against a person and also provides our communities with the justice they deserve in the wake of these traumatic crimes.

“I am grateful to Governor Inslee and our legislative leaders for their support of this important legislation,” Manion added.

The bill reclassifies hate crimes as a crime against a person - empowering courts to impose community-therapeutic-treatment - a common request of victims and survivors - in addition to jail time. In addition, the bill expands the universe of possible hate crimes to include assaults that do not result in physical injury.

In late 2022, King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Yessenia Manzo testified before the Senate Law and Justice Committee on SB 5623, sharing a firsthand account of why this bill is so important.

“To give an example, there was a case where a Mexican woman was in line at a business and was speaking in Spanish on the phone,” said Manzo. “The defendant in this case became upset because the woman was speaking in Spanish ,and without provocation approached her, started to yell racial slurs at her, and told her to go back to her country.

“He escalated to the point where he spit in her face, and some of the spit landed in her eye. This criminal conduct should absolutely be considered a hate crime, but it is not in the current law,” Manzo said.

ESB 5623 is among a suite of bills Manion endorsed this year, among them policies aimed at providing greater accountability on sexual assault, mental health treatment, and catalytic converter theft.

Below are some overall hate crime stats:

Between 2018 and this week, King County prosecutors filed 270 hate crimes cases.

Of those, the most common type are hate crimes that target individuals based on race/ethnicity. There were at least 141 cases involving anti-race/ethnicity, including 9 so far this year and at least 19 last year. There were at least 31 in 2021 and at least 41 in 2020.

Anti-Black are the most common type of anti-race-ethnicity-related hate crimes - including 2 this year. Anti-Asian crimes are the second most common - including 4 this year.

The second most common type of hate crime involves cases involving anti-sexual orientation. There were at least 49 of those between 2018 and this week, including 2 filed this year.

At least 23 cases between 2018 and this week involved anti-gender or gender expression.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentnews.us.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://kentnews.us/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Passenger turns out to be driver in crash that killed Kent woman

State Patrol reportedly determines new information in June 2 multivehicle collision in Seattle

t
Civil suit against Kent School District, board moves forward

Efforts continue to end resolution that excludes one board member from all labor contract talks

t
Firefighters put on special suits to stop chlorine gas leak in Kent

Leak stopped Wednesday, June 12 from tanks at city well on East Hill; nobody injured

Kentridge High School. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Weapon found Wednesday, June 12 at Kentridge High School

Campus put in lockdown during incident; principal says no direct threat to students or staff

t
Free summer meals to start June 24 in Kent School District

Meals available for children 18 and under at select schools, apartments, parks and community centers

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Man faces assault charge after attack at Kent auto repair shop

Dispute over lack of payment for repairs reportedly led to man punching, kicking employee in head

t
Kent Police Blotter: May 28 to June 10

Incidents include robberies at Walgreens, 7-Eleven; assaults, shots fired

t
Kent School District's Class of 2024 high school graduates | Photos

Kent-Meridian, Kentlake, Kentridge, Kentwood, Kent Laboratory Academy graduated last weekend

Renton Police respond June 5 to a fatal shooting outside the Big 5 Sporting Goods store on South Grady Way. COURTESY PHOTO, Renton Police
Man charged in killing of Kent teen outside Renton sporting goods store

Off-duty security officer reportedly fired at least seven shots at Kent-Meridian High student

t
King County's MLK distinguished service award goes to Kent's Shamso Issak

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove selects Living Well Kent director for the honor

t
Renton man sentenced for 2021 murder in Kent parking lot

Receives 30-year sentence for shooting Avery Wilcox Jr.

Courtesy Photo, Kent School District
Kent School District receives clean state audit for 2022-2023

District in compliance with financial statements and activities, according to state auditor