Election 2016

10 Hate Crimes Inspired by Donald Trump's Hateful Rhetoric

Irrational violence is spilling out of Trump rallies and affecting the lives of everyday people.

Photo Credit: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera/Flickr

It strikes me as vaguely ironic that Trump supporters, who so badly want to want to Make America Great Again, are relying on the old standbys of this country’s recipe for success: racism and violence. Genocide, slavery, Jim Crow and state-sanctioned terrorism against black folks are all a part of what Trump’s base considers the best of times—before subtle, sophisticated racism and political correctness came along and ruined white people's good times. And so Trump, a man who fully embraces violence in his personal life, publicly embraces violence for America as well, more outspokenly than any candidate in recent history. His supporters, a fervent bunch, follow suit.

Membership in white supremacist and anti-government groups has steadily climbed. A study by the SPLC found that Trump’s rhetoric is creating an “alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color” while emboldening some white students, and is directly tied to “an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been... verbal targets.” Just days ago, a Trump fan posted a video urging compatriots to shoot black women and children. Trump supporters have sent death threats to Jewish reporters on social media. Hate crimes against Muslims are rising precipitously, and now stand at levels higher than just after 9/11. 

There is plenty of violence at Trump rallies against people of color, but that violence spills beyond the rooms where Trump riles his crowds and bleeds into Muslim, African-American and Hispanic lives. This list is a roundup of 10 examples. But please know that not every perpetrator speaks Trump’s name aloud, not every hate crime is reported and not every report makes the news. So this is likely just a small fraction of what’s happening.

1. Two Boston Trump supporters viciously beat Hispanic man.

Roughly a year ago, Boston brothers Scott and Steve Leader were arrested for brutally attacking a homeless Hispanic man, beating him with a metal pipe, urinating on him and shouting “anti-immigrant” statements as they carried out the attack. Arresting officers said the two brothers cited Trump as their inspiration, saying, "Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported."

Trump’s response to learning about the attack? Calling it “a shame,” but in the same breath, stating, “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country, they want this country to be great again.”

2. Muslim and Hispanic college students attacked in Kansas.

Wichita State University study body president Khondoker Usama, a 23-year-old Muslim student from Bangladesh, and a Hispanic friend stopped at a local Kwik Shop late on a Friday in March. In an interview with the Washington Post, Usama says he noticed a white motorcyclist verbally harassing a black man, “calling him a lazy ass, saying, ‘You guys don’t work.’ He was using racial slurs.”

He says when the man took note of Usama and his friend, he began shouting, “Hey, you brown trash, you better go home.” Usama’s friend insisted, “It’s my country. Who the hell are you to tell me, ‘Go home?'” That's when Usama alleges the violence began. (If you can bear the obnoxious voiceover—maybe just shut off your speakers—video of the incident is here.)

“He seemed to be looking for a fight,” Usama told the Post. “The man started punching my friend. My friend dodged the first punch. I got in the middle of them—I told my friend to get back in the car. [The man] pushed me and he hit me over.” He began “kicking [my friend] in the stomach, indiscriminately punching him.”

Usama called the cops and the motorcyclist took off, but not before endorsing Trump.

“He was chanting, ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!'” Usama told the Post. “‘Make America great again! You guys are the losers! You guys, we’ll throw you over the wall!'”

“You know, the usual things you see at a Trump rally.”

3. African-American woman verbally attacked on subway in New York City.

Dressed, perhaps, for a Panama Jack costume contest, an angry white man berated an African-American woman on the L train for—per the New York Daily News—taking the last available seat. (At least he accurately understood Trump’s real campaign slogan: “Make America Great Like it Was Before Rosa Parks Again.”)

The video shows the unhinged man getting very in the woman’s face, and shouting racist and sexist insults: “Worthless stupid fucking stupid cunt. Donald Trump 2016! Put them back in the fucking fields where they belong,” he rants.

“Reveal exactly who you are,” the woman responds, making her retort one of my new favorite things.

4. Interracial couple stabbed in Washington.

A black man and his white girlfriend were standing in front of an Olympia bar around 8:30 p.m. when a white male bearing a “weird” smile approached them, then brandished a knife and lunged at them while spouting racial slurs. In a statement, police said 32-year-old Daniel Rowe was “unknown to the victims and the attack appears” to be “purely racial.”

During the arrest, Olympia police spokesperson Lt. Paul Lower says Rowe told officers, “‘Yeah, I stabbed them. I’m a white supremacist.’ He begins talking about Donald Trump rallies and attacking people at the Black Lives Matter protest.”

5. Elderly African-American man and grandson threatened with knife in Ohio.

In June, 20-year-old Timothy Stewart was visiting his grandfather when a knife-wielding 54-year-old neighbor named Henry Slapnik allegedly made threats of cutting them. According to news outlet Cleveland.com, arresting officers noted that Slapnik was drunk and rambling, and made “a profanity-laden statement” that included this assertion: “The RNC will take care of them, Donald Trump will fix them because they are scared of Donald Trump."

6. White bicyclist threatened with violence, called “dead man walking.”

Southern California motorist Ryan Lewis—who was illegally driving in a bike-share lane—got pissed off when he erroneously thought he’d been cut off by a bicyclist who actually had the right of way. In a video of the incident, Lewis accosts the bicyclist, calling him “queer” and a “punk” and attempting to bait him by asking, “What are you gonna do?”

“You’re a tiny little man, you think you’re a big shot,” Lewis yells in the footage. “I oughta smack you so fucking good. If there wasn’t any witnesses, you know what I’d do to you? I’d pull Trump on ya.”

Lewis, who later said he was “embarrassed” (but only after he realized the whole thing was caught on a video that had gone viral) is just one of the many Trumpites who have begun using their candidate’s surname as part of a verb phrase that—I’m just guessing here—means “to do something irrationally violent and worthy of arrest.” 

7. Muslim woman attacked outside a Starbucks in Washington, D.C.  

An African-American Muslim woman was seated on a bench in front of a Starbucks when she was accosted by a random woman screaming Islamophobic epithets. Speaking to WJLA, the woman (who remained anonymous) described the attack, which took place after the woman spotted her wearing a hijab.

"A Caucasian lady with blond hair walked right past me," the woman told the station. "Then as soon as she sat down, she started talking about me. Saying 'Fucking Muslim. Trash, worthless piece of Muslim trash. You all need to go back to where you came from.'"

She managed to pull out her cellphone and capture grainy footage of the verbal harassment, in which you can hear the woman saying, "You're a terrorist. So stupid." She says the woman also told her, “If Donald Trump wins the nomination, I'm going to vote for him so he can send all of you all back to where you came from."

Frightened, the woman called the cops, who showed up but told her that police “can't do anything about words." When the officer left the scene, the woman’s harassment allegedly turned physical.

"She came around and took out a water bottle and poured the contents over my head and all over me... It didn't burn my skin or anything, but it had a strange smell to it."

The incident occurred in April. D.C. police posted surveillance video indicating the woman is a “person of interest,” but no arrests have yet been made.

8. Two Muslim women verbally attacked on subway in New York City.

This time, the awful Trump supporter at the center of this story was riding the F train. Amaira Farheen Hasan was on her way to work one morning this June, when the asshole in question got on the train and started insulting two hijabi Muslim women. In a viral Facebook post about the incident, Hasan says the man began by “insist[ing] that the two women go back home and take their bombs with them.” She told the New York Daily News that he went on to note that “‘Donald Trump is right’ and railed against the welfare system and undocumented immigrants.”

Hasan says other passengers—“a black man, a Romanian, a gay man, a bunch of Asians, and a score of others”—defended the women and essentially told the guy to stuff it. One man, Hasan's Facebook post notes, said, "This is New York City. The most diverse place in the world. And in New York, we protect our own and we don't give a fuck what anyone looks like or who they love, or any of those things. It's time for you to leave these women alone, sir."

She wrote that when the antagonist got off at his stop, the car erupted in cheers. 

9. African-American father verbally and physically assaulted in North Carolina.

Isaiah Baskins is a father of three. His youngest daughter, just two months old in April, at the time of the incident, has a congenital heart condition that had already required two surgeries. During a visit to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Baskins waited with his two young sons in the hospital family room while his wife and daughter saw the doctor. As the boys played with other kids in the space, a white hospital volunteer suddenly came up to him.

According to the family’s lawyer, Justin Bamberg, who spoke with ThinkProgress, the woman screamed, "Get your black kids out of here. Do you even have a job? Do you know what a job is, n igger? This is what Donald Trump’s talking about, people like you.”

Baskins began recording shortly thereafter, and the captured footage shows volunteer Donna Lorraine Bridger, 68, shouting, kicking and charging at Baskins in an astonishing display. Baskins says Bridger was polite when he and his kids initially entered, but changed her tune after she saw him speaking with a white woman whose own kids appeared to be biracial. He thinks she assumed things about “misegenation”—as a Trump supporter would put it—on his part.

Bridger was let go from the hospital and charged with simple assault. 

10. Muslims leaving prayer services receive death threats in California.

On a Friday last December, according to the Mercury News, William Celli stood outside of a Richmond mosque and yelled at the worshippers who were exiting, “I’m going to kill you all!”

Police later were informed that Celli might be building bombs in his home, so they quickly obtained a warrant and conducted a search. There, officers located what looked like “a possible homemade explosive device,” which was detonated by a bomb squad. Celli, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.

Among the loss of privileges during that time includes suspension of his access to Facebook. In the leadup to his arrest, Celli had posted numerous anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican rants. He’d also expressed admiration for Donald Trump, whom he once called a “great point man.” In another post, Celli wrote, "I’ll follow this MAN to the end of the world."

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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