Maryland

Hate Incidents Reported Across DC Area

Events in Charlottesville appear to have set off a small but very disturbing chain of hate-related incidents in the D.C. area.

Sunday afternoon at the Rumsey Aquatic Center in DC's Capitol Hill neighborhood, witnesses said a man with swastika tattoos on his torso used a vile racial epithet to a young, African-American lifeguard responding to patron's concerns about the man's behavior.

A northeast Washington woman returned home from a 24-hour shift at a hospital to find someone had ripped down and set fire to her gay Pride flag. She responded by flying the burned flag one story higher and placing a poster in her window.

The poster said, “To whoever tore down and burned my gay Pride flag: I hung it up higher and prouder than before. It was a little low.”

"I called police. They told me there had been a number of incidents," the woman said.

In an Ashburn, Virginia, church, people gathered in a circle to pray for peace and tolerance. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who attended the service, was asked if he believes the death of Heather Heyer, killed in Charlottesville after a white supremacist rally, met the legal standard to be prosecuted as an act of domestic terrorism.

"From the video that all of us saw, it is clear that the person, the suspect, weaponized his car and intended to do as much harm and strike as much fear as he could," Herring said. "To me, that looks like an act of terrorism."

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Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, are investigating an apparent hate-based incident Sunday afternoon on Rollins Avenue near East Jefferson Street. They said a man heard a couple conversing in Arabic, then made anti-Muslim comments and physically assaulted the husband.

In D.C., a dramatically higher number of people reported being the victims of hate crimes in 2016 than in 2015 -- and data for 2017 as of June suggested a continued increase.

Source: Metropolitan Police Department
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