15.120 - Malicious Harassment, Crimes with Bias Elements, and Non-Criminal Incidents

Effective Date: 05/07/2019

15.120 - POL

This policy pertains to the Department's response to cases of malicious harassment and other incidents involving bias.

1. Definitions

Malicious harassment: Per RCW 9A.36.080 and SMC 12A.06.115, a person is guilty of malicious harassment if, because of his or her perception of another person’s

- race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap (felony)

- homelessness, marital status, political ideology, age, or parental status (misdemeanor), he or she maliciously and intentionally commits at least one of the following acts:

- causes physical injury to another person,

- by threat, places another person in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property or to the person or property of a third person, or

- causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of another person.

Crime with bias elements: An event in which a crime is committed that is not bias-based and during the incident the suspect uses derogatory language directed at the victim’s protected status or group.

Bias incident: Offensive derogatory comments directed at a person’s sexual orientation, race, or other protected status which cause fear and/or concern in the targeted community during a non-criminal incident.

Sexual orientation: Heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and gender identity.

2. A Sergeant will be Dispatched to the Scene of a Malicious Harassment Incident Along with the Patrol Officers

See 15.120–TSK–1 Responsibilities of the Patrol Sergeant When Responding to a Malicious Harassment Incident

The sergeant will make sure that the officers conduct a thorough investigation at the scene of the incident, with special emphasis placed on preserving physical evidence.

a. The On-Scene Sergeant will Notify an On-Duty Watch Lieutenant

The notified lieutenant will evaluate the need to notify those higher in command and/or the Public Affairs Unit.

b. The On-Scene Sergeant will Confer with the On-Duty Homicide Sergeant if Necessary

If clarification is needed as to if the incident meets the elements of malicious harassment, the on-scene sergeant will consult with the on-duty homicide sergeant.

3. Cases of Malicious Harassment and Bias Incidents Shall be Documented on a Report

The offense of malicious harassment and any and all auxiliary offenses shall be listed. The type of bias shall be indicated in the bias field of the Report.

- For bias incidents not meeting the criteria of malicious harassment (crime with bias elements, bias incidents), the routing offense of “bias crimes routing” shall be used.

4. Cases will be Assigned for Follow-Up Investigation According to the Criminal Investigations Case Assignment Matrix

5. Bias Crimes Coordinator Shall Review all Reports

15.120–TSK–1 Responsibilities of the Patrol Sergeant When Responding to a Malicious Harassment Incident

The patrol sergeant:

1. Responds to the scene, as dispatched.

2. Directs officers to conduct a thorough investigation.

3. Notifies an on-duty watch lieutenant.

4. Instructs investigating officers to write a Report.

- Follow-up investigation of malicious harassment cases is typically assigned to the Homicide Unit.

- The Precinct Detective Units will investigate malicious harassment incidents that involve only property damage and malicious harassment threats/assaults by juvenile suspects.

5. Reviews report to make sure that the incident is properly documented and routed.

6. Sends an Alert Email with the Report Number to the following:

- Captain, Violent Crimes Section

- Bias Crimes Coordinator

- Homicide Detective Unit or Precinct Detective Unit, as appropriate

- Public Affairs Unit

- Records Transcription Handle