SPD Investigates Defaced Mural

Julie Humphreys, Communication Manager, 509.622.5868


Friday, May 17, 2024 at 9:45 a.m.


***Update***

The Spokane Police Department is still actively investigating the malicious mischief and arson incident at the Pride flag crosswalk mural located at the intersection of Howard and Spokane Falls Boulevard that occurred on 5-16-24 at about 1:15am.  Additional information has come to light that there may be potential witnesses to this incident who were in the immediate area when the arson fire was started.  Spokane Police investigators are asking the public to contact them if you were in the area of Howard and Spokane Falls Boulevard  and observed the fire or any activity immediately before or after the fire was started. Please contact Detective Elina Bishop at ebishop@spokanepolice.org.

 

***Original Release***

Spokane Police and Spokane Fire responded to a call of smoke and flames at the intersection of Howard St and Spokane Falls Blvd about 1:15 this morning - 5/16/24. Fire arrived and put out the flames and notified police. Two buckets of flammable material were recovered at the intersection. Video Survelience shows multiple suspects dumping liquid on the street where a LGBTQ plus flag is painted and lighting it on fire, as another suspect videotaped the incident. Significant damage was done to the mural which will require not insignificant time and resources to clean up and repair.

The crime is currently being investigated as an arson. While it appears the mural was targeted for what it represents, the malicious act may not constitute a hate crime under current state law. However, the WA State Legislature has made amendments to the applicable RCW effective June 6th of this year to ensure that publicly owned property is eligible to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

The specific section of RCW 9A.36.080 being amended is as follows in Sec. 1; “A person is guilty of a hate crime offense if ((he or she)) the person maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of ((his or her)) their perception of ((the victim's)) another person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, or mental, physical, or sensory disability:”, and still includes “causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of another.”  This broadens the application of the law, no longer requiring a property owner be the victim, thus allowing the damaged “property of another” to include public property.

This is an on-going investigation. More information will be released as warranted.



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Julie Humphreys
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jhumphreys@spokanepolice.org