Spokane one of many communities seeing cases of hate speech, intimidation

SPOKANE, Wash. - Someone spray painted the n-word on the wall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center on Tuesday.

At a press conference, community leaders spoke out against this act of hate.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 400 cases of harassment or intimidation have been reported in the week since the presidential election, which the center says is way above the norm.

There have also been reports of violence against Trump supporters.

So what's accounting for this up-tick in reported hate speech?

Right now, it's unclear what the motive was of the people who did this graffiti in Spokane. Regardless, dozens gathered to show the MLK Center that they are not alone, and racism won't be tolerated in the Spokane community.

"This type of hatred will not be tolerated in our community," said Executive Director Freda Gandy. "It doesn't matter what our political views are."

On Tuesday morning, employees of the outreach center found the n-word spray painted on the building.

At a press conference, community leaders came together to speak out against it.

"It is not new," said Spokane NAACP President Phillip Tyler. "It is not because a new president was elected. This has been going on for years. And the community, our country, needs to wake up."

News spread quickly in the neighborhood that surrounds the MLK Center.

Debby Golonka says she's been hearing of other hate crimes since the election.

"Unfortunately, I think it's a reaction to President-elect Trump being elected," she said.

Down the street, Sandra, who didn't want to give her last name, said she was shocked and dismayed by the graffiti, and hoped it isn't related to the election.

"I think it's bad timing," she said of the graffiti, "but I hope people don't take it as another reason to choose sides and be against each other."

Sandra believes some people are responding with hate on both sides of the aisle.

And this isn't the only hate crime in our area. On Monday, the Pullman Police announced it is investigating an incident where a student's car was vandalized with anti-gay slurs.

On 60 minutes, President-elect Trump addressed the issue and told people to stop the violence.

"I am so saddened to hear that," Trump said. "And I say, 'stop it.' If it-- If it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it."

Regardless of the motives behind the graffiti at the MLK Center, today community leaders said Spokane needs to stand up to hate.

"This is not about simply joining hands together and raising paintbrushes for one day, for one incident," Tyler said. "You have to open up your minds and your hearts, and when you see this behavior, you have to speak to it."

Governor Inslee tweeted in response to the incident saying it was, "just one attempt to divide us with fear and intolerance," and said "Washington has been and will continue to be a place where all people are welcomed and accepted, regardless of the color of your skin, the language you speak, who you love, or the religion you practice."