Crime

Six Examples of Hate Crimes in Denver Since the Presidential Election

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Little India Restaurant

Little India Restaurant has been a staple in Denver since 1998 and was voted the Readers' Choice for Best Indian Restaurant by Westword readers in 2016.

On November 8, the restaurant's sign was vandalized — with what appears to be the same writing as the "Hail Trump" tag on the hi-dive.

Simeran Baidwan told Life on Cap Hill that this was the eatery’s first brush with vandalism since September 11, 2001. “Our chef was really bummed," Baidwan says. "We’ve been here almost nineteen years. He’s been here for nineteen years. He’s fed this whole Denver community for nineteen years.”

13th Avenue and Humboldt Street

On November 16, Amber Timmons, a transgender woman, awoke to hate-crime graffiti spray painted on her car.

Shortly thereafter, messages that read "You are loved" were posted on the car's windshield, and the car has been repainted.

Jennifer Jeung

Jeung works at a concert venue in town (she doesn't want to say which one). On December 6, she received a receipt at an all-ages show with a swastika drawn on the signature line, above the printed-out "Thank You" that's on all the venue's receipts.

Jeung, an Asian American who has worked at the venue for almost nine years, says it was the night of an all-ages hip-hop show. "This kid came up at the end of the night, asked for a bottle of water, $2. I grabbed his card, ran it through. Another couple of kids came up, and they were looking for their friend's cell phone, so I was helping them for a minute. This kid went ahead and drew a swastika on the receipt and then ran off into the crowd. I didn't even find it; my co-worker picked it up off the the bar. She looked at it and was really upset.

"I've been mad, then I was sad, and for whatever reason or the rest of the night, I felt vulnerable," Jeung continues. "Not that anything was going to happen to me, because I have so many friends and allies at my work. I knew I was safe, but initially that night, while the crowd was letting out, I was watching everyone filter by, and that moment I was like, 'Which one of you is racist? How many of you are intolerant? How many of you hate whatever community, whether it be people of color, LGBTQ people, women?' I was thinking, crap, is this permeating through our community, our society? I am an Asian American woman in Denver, which is what I had always thought to be a very liberal place.

"I want to put a very real face on the fact that this is real, this is happening. Even if this kid thought that this is a joke, it's still offensive," Jeung says. "It still brings up a lot of terrible historic things. It's actually a Hindi swastika, so he totally failed at even trying to be funny, or racist and offensive."

A photo Jeung shared on social media of the receipt went viral.

"My biggest fear at this point is not for my personal safety, but for the safety of other people of color or women," Jeung says. "For whatever reason, the climate in this country has completely changed that makes it okay for kids to draw swastikas on a receipt and hand it to people. This country, for me, more than anything, is everyone being tolerant of every culture, this weaving of a cultural fabric. That's our strength. Now it looks like maybe it's not going to be that way for the next few years."

Sonoma Resort at Saddlerock

The Aurora Police Department is investigating a hate crime at Sonoma Resort at Saddlerock. APD has responded to four incidents of "KKK" being tagged on doors at the apartment complex in the last three weeks.

"Our chief came out," says Sergeant Chris Amsler. "This is a top priority for our department. We have multiple units that are investigating this. We do not tolerate hate crimes, and we will prosecute to the full extent of the law."

But the department is stopping short of accusing any white-supremacy groups. "The only tie or indication that it could possibly be white supremacists...was the words 'KKK' and some slurs toward African Americans," Amsler says.

The first incident happened on November 22. The victim, an African-American woman, awoke to find that her door had been vandalized. She was victimized again on the November 29 with the same graffiti. The day after, APD held a press conference with the mayor and the chief of police reassuring the community that the department was investigating the vandalism.

On December 10, three more doors in the complex were tagged with similar graffiti. As far as the police could tell, each incident happened in the middle of the night.

"I can't discuss if we have any leads, because it's an open investigation, but we feel that this is an isolated incident," Amsler says. "We feel it's the same person or persons who committed this. We have been working with the community on this case very closely. After the second incident happened, our mayor and chief of police held a press conference to let the community know that this is not Aurora, this is not the community we call home."

Anyone with information about the crimes is being asked to contact Detective Ryan Belleau at 303-627-3156.
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Lindsey Bartlett is a writer, photographer, artist, Denver native and weed-snob. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair, High Times and Leafly, to name a few.
Contact: Lindsey Bartlett