Following recent hate crimes in Antioch, Richmond, and Concord, the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC) urges Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson to charge the perpetrators with hate crime enhancements and reiterates its support for minority communities throughout Contra Costa County.
In the dark of night on September 7, 2016, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a home owned by an African American family in Antioch and racial epithets were spray-painted on the home. Through the great work of the Antioch police department, the suspects were apprehended less than a week later. Although the police referred to this incident as an “isolated matter,” the African American community throughout the east bay was shocked by the event which was intended to terrorize a community simply because of their race.
Around 9:00 pm on September 25, 2016, out-of-town refinery workers attacked a Sikh man on Hilltop Mall Drive in Richmond. In the attack, the assailants knocked the victim’s turban off of his head and violently cut off a fistful of hair that the Sikh religion requires to be kept intact and covered. The violent attack also left the victim with cuts and lacerations on his hands and face, a swollen eye, damage to his teeth that may require thousands of dollars of reconstruction surgery, and a severe cut to one finger that may require amputation. The Richmond police who responded to the event were reportedly skeptical that the event was motivated by hate. The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County believes that this attack was intended to harass, intimidate, and instill fear in the members of the Sikh community and must be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Over two weeks leading up to October 7, 2016, burglars have attacked the Rainbow Community Center in Concord four times and left anti-gay graffiti on the walls, steps, and sidewalks surrounding the Center. Although the attack was less violent than the attacks in Antioch and Richmond, the Concord police department is investigating the incident as a hate crime against the LGBT community.
“Violence, the threat of violence, harassment, and intimidation have no place in our community,” said DPCCC Chair Jeff Koertzen, the first openly LGBT person elected to lead the county party. “Unfortunately, the very hateful rhetoric of the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has emboldened people to act out against women, minorities, and communities of color. The Democratic Party of Contra Costa County is composed of men and women who feel the sting of these attacks. We are Black, White, Asian, and Latino. We are straight and gay. We are Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists. We stand for the humanity and democracy of all people. We will not tolerate racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic or other intolerant attacks on our community, and we call on people of all faiths, colors, sexual orientations, or political persuasions to reject these attacks and stand up against hate speech in any form."