GOP office vandalism now being investigated as a hate crime - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

GOP office vandalism now being investigated as a hate crime

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Update: One day after the headquarters of the Spokane GOP was targeted by vandals, Spokane Police say they are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Police say due to the words written on the office's windows, it qualifies as a hate crime.

On Sunday, Party Chairman Stephanie Cates said she had given the pen used in the vandalism to police to search for fingerprints, but no arrests have been made as of Monday afternoon.

Previous coverage:

Spokane Police are investigating after the headquarters of the Spokane County Republican Party were targeted by vandals Sunday. The vandals used a pen to write "refugees welcome," and "Nazi scum" on the windows of the building. Party Chairman Stephanie Cates says that the pen used to tag the building was found at the scene, and has been handed over to police. Cates also says she believes the building was targeted in retaliation for President Donald Trump's executive order instituting a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

In a statement release Sunday, Cates said, "One should not have to fear their personal safety, nor suffer destruction of personal property, because of their political beliefs."

Cates' full statement can be read below:

"Sunday morning, I was alerted to an act of vandalism at our Spokane County Republican Party office that we share with the Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress campaign. The content of the messages and slurs appears to be in retaliation for recent actions taken by President Trump to increase security screenings on individuals coming into the U.S. from countries either torn apart by jihadist violence or under the control of hostile, jihadist governments. 

"I have filed a report with the Spokane Police Department and the instrument used to mark up our windows has been taken by the officers to check for fingerprints. 

"Acts of vandalism motivated by race or religion are classified by the police as "malicious harassment" -- and commonly known as "hate crimes". This incident brings up the issue of whether such attacks motivated by political affiliation should be included in that classification. One should not have to fear their personal safety, nor suffer destruction of personal property, because of their political beliefs."

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