Miami Beach police charged a man Monday with attempted arson after he threatened to burn down a condominium and “”kill all the Jews”” inside. On July 12, a woman beat a Hispanic man with a brick in Los Angeles and told him to go back to his country. In June, a man harassed a woman in Chicago in a public park for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rico flag on it. Though relatively rare, hate crimes have seen an increase in cities across the USA. In California alone, the number spiked 44 percent between 2014 and 2017, up to 1,093 hate crimes last year, the state’s attorney general’s office reported last week. The total number of hate crimes in the 10 largest cities in America jumped in 2017, marking four straight years for an uptick in such incidents. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found a 12.5 percent increase in incidents reported by police last year in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose, California. The number of hate crimes reported in those cities totaled 1,038, up from 923 in 2016, according to the May study. In New York, nearly half of hate crimes last year were committed against Jewish people. In Los Angeles, gay men were targeted most. And in Boston the largest demographic hit by hate crimes were African Americans.
Consider the week before last in America. Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church. After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested Friday – a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online. And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services. Those three incidents in 72 hours shared one thing: hate.
Death in the grocery store; he tried first to enter a church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, just outside of Louisville. It was the predominantly black First Baptist Church, and Gregory Bush allegedly banged on the door and tried to pull it open. Bush, a 51-year-old white man, didn’t manage to get inside. The doors were locked. Bush then headed to a Kroger store, where he allegedly shot two people, both African-American. The first victim was Maurice Stallard, 69, who was with his 12-year-old grandson buying a poster board for a school project. The second was Vickie Jones, 67, killed in the parking lot as Bush fled. Bush has a history of mental illness, made racist threats and repeatedly called his ex-wife the N-word, according to court records, WDRB reported. He has a lengthy criminal record that includes domestic violence, the station reported. Bush is in custody and faces potential civil rights violations, such as hate crimes.
When the Kentucky shooting happened, the nation was getting nervous about an increasing number of suspicious packages being sent through the mail. The first one was discovered Monday afternoon at the home of liberal campaign donor and billionaire George Soros. Wednesday morning, the Secret Service said two more had been found – one addressed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and another to former President Barack Obama. Four more would be found before the end of the day including one sent to CNN’s New York bureau, prompting the evacuation of the entire building, Time Warner Center. The package sent to CNN – the first of two – was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan. On Friday came word of more packages, and then an arrest – a 56-year-old Florida man named Cesar Sayoc. Federal authorities said he mailed a total of 14 packages containing pipe bombs, none of which detonated, but all of which were real. Sayoc’s political inclinations were passionately displayed for everyone to see. His white Dodge van was plastered with pro-Trump messages and stickers showing prominent liberals in crosshairs. A sticker reading “”CNN Sucks”” was also on the van. A former boss said Sayoc called himself a white supremacist. Online, with two accounts on Facebook and three on Twitter, Sayoc often posted provocative photos and memes attacking liberals, along with conspiracy theories. Saturday morning brought news of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, where congregants had gathered for services.
A man shouting anti-Semitic slurs ran inside the Tree of Life synagogue in the close-knit neighborhood of Squirrel Hill and opened fire, killing 11 people. Six people were injured in the attack, but it left many more hurting. Robert Bowers, 46, was identified as the gunman and arrested. He had frequently expressed his disdain for Jews on social media, a federal law enforcement official said. Social media posts targeting Jews that are believed to have come from Bowers are a focus of the investigation. Shortly before the shooting, in an account on the Gab social media platform that authorities are investigating, the suspect is believed to have posted that he “”can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”” A law enforcement source told CNN that investigators believe that other anti-Semitic posts on a Gab account belong to Bowers. The language on the account matches the suspected motivation behind the shootings, the source said. In one post, Bowers wrote, “”HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,”” referring to a Jewish refugee advocacy group that held a National Refugee Shabbat last weekend. Bowers also posted xenophobic content, claiming Jews were helping transport members of the migrant caravans in Latin America. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Bowers now faces hate crime, inchoate crime, and other federal charges that could lead to the death penalty.
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