EDITORIAL | SPD's online postings leave much to be desired

Michael Volz was the victim of a brutal hate crime in Capitol Hill, their attacker using a transphobic slur as he beat Volz and then choked them unconscious on June 22.

The following day, the Seattle Police Department posted the very serious crime of a man placing his genitals on a self-checkout scanner at a Broadway grocery store on its online police blotter; there was no mention of the violent assault of Volz or even a description of the suspect.

While there’s little historical evidence to show that putting up the suspect’s description last Wednesday night, or even that Thursday morning, would result in someone identifying the offender on the street and the police swooping in and arresting this sad sack, it certainly seemed like the kind of heinous crime that would trump a story about testicles on check stand two.

Many journalists found out about the assault through a number of emails from Gender Justice League executive director Danni Askini regarding Trans Pride Seattle last Friday, as well as a GoFundMe page set up to help cover Volz’s medical expenses. That page was nearing $37,000 in pledges as of Monday.

Sure, there was a news conference ahead of last Friday’s Trans Pride Seattle march and celebration at Cal Anderson Park, where Volz bravely stood before the media and said they would not be invisible and what happened to them is nothing new.

But, in a post-Orlando world, and with everything Seattle Pride on the horizon, it seemed like the SPD was playing catch-up on this crime, spurred by concentrated media attention and the Gender Justice League’s desire to spotlight this disgusting crime.

The Seattle Times crunched the numbers and found that hate crimes and incidents against LGBT people in 2015 was at 72, double what was reported in 2014. A police publication provided to media last Friday showed a lower number of 47 crimes and 17 non-criminal bias incidents. Either way, hate crimes against Seattle’s LGBT community in 2015 still rank higher than any other demographic, not far ahead of hate crimes against black people.

While there should always be an effort to protect the privacy of a victim, in the face of such glaring evidence that Seattle is not as progressive as it purports to be, the SPD should, whenever possible, focus its public affairs reporting around crimes that truly represent the troubles facing this city, and that sadly includes hate crimes against the LGBT community.

A man shaking his testicles in a Capitol Hill grocery store makes for good click-bait, but it was not the headline that should have been the SPD’s focus the day after a transgender person was released from the hospital, after some degenerate put them there, especially when that degenerate represents just a fraction of a greater problem facing Seattle.