‘Hate happens in the dark’: Attacks reported online

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Stories of hate against the LGBTQ community in Portland have been circulating on social media.

The Portland Police Bureau said it is looking into the attacks but coming forward may not be as easy as it sounds.

“Hate happens in the dark. Hate happens when no one is watching,” Q Center executive director Cameron Whitten said. 

The disturbing stories spreading online say members of the LGBTQ community have been targeted in multiple attacks. 

“We are not shocked. We are seriously, seriously disappointed but we are not surprised,” Whitten said. “For generations, LGBTQ people have been fighting against violence, harassment and discrimination.”

With people turning to Facebook and Twitter with their stories, police are taking notice.

Police said they can’t confirm any bias-related crimes lately but officers did respond to an assault on February 10 near SE 15th and Morrison that may have been one. 

Police went to the area of SE 15th and Morrison about a person who may have been assaulted. Police said the person was intoxicated and may have fallen. The person was taken to the hospital and later reported the incident as an assault. 

A bias crime detective was assigned to the case but wasn’t able to confirm whether there was a crime. Police said social media posts “suggested the victim believed it may have been” a bias crime. 

“When a hate crime happens, people already have a sense of distrust in whether the authorities will do something,” Whitten said. “The fact that we have not done a good enough job to protect people is a testament to why we have hate crimes that are under-reported. So we’re trying to do better and we’re focused on keeping our communities safe, that’s what’s important.”

Portland police said they are looking into the numerous social media reports about the “rash of attacks on LGBTQ community members in Southeast Portland,” but said they haven’t received any reports. They urge anyone who is a victim to come forward.

“PPB has proactively reached out to community stakeholders to brief them on what we have learned, and to encourage any victims or witnesses to contact law enforcement,” police said in a press release. 

By standing together and being vigilant, Whitten said victory is within reach. He also said the Q Center is another resource for help. 

“The fact that we’re being vocal, saying enough is enough, gives me hope that we can actually end this awful wave of hate happening in our communities,” he said. 

The Q Center is holding a town hall on Sunday at 6 p.m. to talk about the reports. 

If you were the victim of a bias crime assault or you witness one, call 911 right away. If you were the victim of vandalism or graffiti, call the non-emergency line at 503.823.3333.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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