Narrative Collapse: “Pro-Trump” Vandalism, Hoax Crime At Seattle’s Africatown Center Immediately Traced To East African Immigrant
From The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative newspaper:
by Ansel Herz • Mar 26, 2016 at 2:52 pm
Another day, another horrific hate crime in Seattle. Staff at the Africatown Center for Education and Innovation in Rainier Vista came upon evidence of a burglary and racist vandalism today. The center, which operates out of the UMOJA Peace Center, runs educational and arts programs for African-American students as well as women’s and immigrants groups. It is temporarily suspending all activity.
Some equipment was stolen, but more alarming were the messages left scrawled on whiteboards, including swastikas, “N****r babies/Vote Trump,” and “Kell [sic] Wyking”—a death threat directed to Wyking Garrett, a respected community activist who runs the center. The center shared photos of the graffiti and the damage on Facebook.
Reached by phone, Africatown Development Coordinator Yalonda Allen said she’s not sure when the attack took place and it’s unclear how the vandals got inside. She and other staff are still assessing the damage.
“For me personally,” she said, “it makes me feel even more vigilant in the fight for racial justice.”
The threat against Garrett, Allen continued, makes her “angry and a little fearful, when you talk about killing someone that I care about… It makes me wonder how safe are we when we’re doing our work here… You named somebody and threatened their life. We don’t take that lightly.” And she’s worried about the safety of the children who attend the center’s programs.
Allen said the vandals may have been “emboldened by a culture that’s allowing hate speech in mainstream media.”
…UPDATE 6:09 p.m.: The SPD says on its website it suspects an East African male of committing the crime. The police have arrested him.
From the Seattle PD’s Blotter:
The initial incident was on Sunday, March 20th, and involved a known East African male who volunteers at the center writing an insufficient funds check to the center, and also the theft of some computers and electronics. The center personnel suspected this volunteer for the theft but couldn’t prove it. He arrived there while the officers were on scene and was interviewed and his father offered to pay for the bad check, and also to pay for the stolen items if he in fact had stolen anything, and the center personnel agreed to this. Officers did not make an arrest due to lack of probable cause for burglary/theft and restitution agreement on the check.
Later in the week the center was burglarized again, but this time there was graffiti targeted at African Americans. The center personnel again suspected the same East African male who was not present. He was located about four hours later, and after being interviewed was arrested for burglary. The racist graffiti was documented in the report and photographed.
The suspect was arrested for the burglary and is a suspect in the bias crime.