Hate crimes spike in wake of Donald Trump's win with 897 reports recorded in 10 days

The Southern Poverty Law Centre has reported almost 900 incidents against ethnic minorities, women, and LGBT people among others

Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 29 November 2016 17:47 GMT
Former KKK imprial wizard David Duke said he was 'delighted' that Trump won
Former KKK imprial wizard David Duke said he was 'delighted' that Trump won (Gerald Herbert/AP)

The Southern Poverty Law Centre has documented close to 900 incidents of harassment and intimidation in just 10 days after the US presidential election.

The spike in abuse, mostly against immigrants, people of colour, women and LGBT people, comes after the president-elect’s 18-month campaign of heated rhetoric, a promise to build a wall along the US-Mexican border and a slow disavowal of white supremacy.

Immigrants bore the brunt of the abuse, found the report. Anti-immigrant attacks accounted for 280 of the total number.

Anti-black incidents reached 187, the second highest number. People reported a spike in the use of the n-word, references to slavery, swastikas graffitied onto cars and houses, and a black doll hanging by a noose in an elevator at a New York college.

Students have been harassed and sent threatening texts. Congregants at churches, mosques and synagogues have reported being targeted while leaving their places of worship by people waiting outside in their cars, shouting racial slurs and promising they would be deported.

Anti-semitic reports came to 100, while there were 95 anti-LGBT incidents and 49 reported incidents against Muslims.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, however, found the number of attacks against Muslims — who are often characterised as terrorists — to be much higher.

“Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success,” the report found.

Since the president-elect was exposed in a 2005 video saying he had the right to grab women by the genitals, anti-women street harassment appeared to have risen. In Arlington, Virginia, a woman was crossing the street when two white men yelled from their car: “You better be ready because with Trump, we can grab you by the pussy even if you don’t want it.”

The biggest number of hate-related incidents — 202 — was reported on 9 November, the day after the election.

Since Mr Trump appointed Breitbart executive chairman Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, the Ku Klux Klan has celebrated, and attention has been drawn to the “alt-right”, an extreme right-wing movement in the US that espouses white nationalist views.

There were also 23 reported anti-Trump incidents, including a man wearing a Trump hat who was grabbed by the neck while riding on the New York subway. The report admitted there might be more anti-Trump incidents but said Trump supporters were less likely to report them to the SPLC.

Data was collected from media accounts and the SPLC’s page to report harassment, and excludes online abuse and “hoaxes”.

The 897 number, however, was deemed to be a “small fraction of hate-related incidents,” as the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported.

The FBI said that there were 5,479 hate crimes in 2014, and 5,818 such crimes last year.

Schools were the most common place for these incidents to take place.

“My 12-year-old daughter is African American,” a Colorado woman told the SPLC. “A boy approached her and said, ‘Now that Trump is president, I’m going to shoot you and all the blacks I can find’.”

People’s homes and places of worship were also frequent targets. Letters of hate were sent to at least five mosques in California and one in Georgia.

Hate crimes have always happened in the US, but the SPLC is viewing the recent spike as a worrying new trend. Incidents before the election were a harbinger of what was to come.

A week before the election, a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was set on fire and its walls were spray-painted with the phrase “Vote Trump”.

“This kind of attack happened in the 1950s and 1960s,” Greenville’s mayor Errick Simmons said at the time, “but it shouldn’t happen in 2016.”

Mr Trump, in his first post-election interview on CBS, said he was “surprised” to hear of hate crimes.

He offered to look into the camera and speak to the perpetrators directly.

“Stop it. Just stop it,” he said.

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