Yesterday morning, Edmonds police said that they weren't going to investigate a residential block that had been tagged with swastikas and Trump graffiti on cars and homes as hate crimes. By the end of the day, Edmonds police had changed their tune. Sort of.
"We are continuing to examine each incident as well as the incident as a whole to determine if there is a specific reason these people were targeted," Edmonds police said in a statement. "We have also notified the local FBI office to make them aware of the situation as we do in any investigation that may include a possible hate crime motivation."
On Monday, Edmonds police spokesperson Sergeant Josh McClure told The Stranger that because the swastikas didn't look like they were targeting anyone in particular, they were being investigated as malicious mischief, or property damage.
"That does not make sense, unless they have evidence that the graffiti was purely a prank, which strikes me as unlikely," David Neiwert, a Pacific Northwest-based correspondent for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. "The next question to ask Edmonds police is whether or not they take the terrorization of their Jewish community members seriously."
In the statement published yesterday evening—after some public backlash—Edmonds police said that none of the victims who reported the crimes felt personally attacked "due to their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or mental, physical or sensory handicap." That said, they added, the department would be investigating the swastikas as "possible hate crimes in addition to the crime of vandalism."
“This sort of criminal behavior has no place in our society and is strongly condemned by me and any who stand up for the law and basic human dignity," Edmonds Police Chief Al Campaan said. "We are asking for the public’s help with identifying suspects.”
If you have any tips for the police, they ask that you contact them at 425-771-0212 or epdtips.edmondswa.gov.