The Indy 500: Help The Indy and ProPublica document hate incidents in Colorado

Photo by martingreffe via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo by martingreffe via Flickr Creative Commons

There are, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 1,020 hate groups operating in the United States. Of those, 22 are in Colorado – from the Christian identity group Scriptures for America Worldwide Ministries up north in Laporte to the black nationalist Northern Kingdom Prophets in Pueblo, with several white nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ groups in between. 

In Colorado Springs alone, the number of documented hate crimes jumped nearly 73 percent from 2017 to 2018 – an increase that mirrors trends nationally. The Springs and other cities have seen several attacks, including violent ones, on trans residents. And as recently as this month, 43-year-old Ryan Austin Lee was sentenced to five years in prison for his attack in Denver on two Latino men while shouting racial slurs.

Given the lack of detailed statewide data on those incidents, we are proud to announce The Colorado Independent’s participation in a collaborative reporting project with ProPublica and journalists from more than 170 news organizations across the country to create a national database of hate crimes.

The project, Documenting Hate, gathers and verifies data from victims and witnesses, social media posts, news reports, social justice groups and law enforcement agencies with the goal of creating a national repository of information about hate crimes and trends about who is committing them and whom they are targeting. The database includes incidents investigated by law enforcement as well as those that law enforcers and governmental agencies don’t document because they don’t rise to the level of criminality. It is meant to raise state and local awareness about extremist groups, which often operate undetected in their communities.

There are too many stories for us — or even all news outlets in Colorado — to report. That’s why we hope you’ll participate in this effort. If you’ve been the victim of, witnessed or read about a recent hate crime, please consider filling out this form. Please include your contact information so our reporters may contact you to follow up. The incident may or may not qualify as newsworthy, but in either case will help our news team and reporters statewide and nationally track the prevalence of these incidents. 

Please know that this form is not a police report nor a complaint to law enforcement or a government agency. It is for journalistic purposes only — and consistent with our mission of helping to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard.

Like you, our readers, we at The Independent live here, are raising our families here, and are part of several of the communities targeted by extremists and hate incidents. We have as much a stake as you in keeping our state as safe as possible. And we believe in the power of storytelling, of bearing witness and of shining light in the darkest places among us to achieve that goal.

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  1. Thank you for documenting this. I’m saddened to hear that hate crimes are rising and thankful to you for following and documenting it in Colorado. I look forward to reading more about what we can do to stop it. Will you be writing about how to address it in our communities and will you be identifying the specific groups? I appreciate you taking this topic on for Colorado.

  2. Aligning yourself with the SPLC says a lot about you. Do you subscribe to the other cultural Marxist subversive called the ADL? Well either way, by being attached to either one in any way, shape or form exposes you for the agenda driven/driven/anti-American fake news outlet that you are and I for one would like to thank you!

  3. I’m concerned that the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform is being labeled a “hate” group just because of its views on immigration policy—not because it’s preaching hate. I’ve looked at CAIRCO’s website and found lots that I disagree with, and some views (related to muslims) that I find extreme or even dangerous. But I don’t see them preaching hatred. Have you also looked at their website or are you just taking SPLC’s word for it? And have you checked with SPLC about their criteria for labeling hate groups?

  4. Joe Garcia: Quoting SPLC statistics is not exactly an alignment. The alignment is with ‘ProPublica and journalists from 170 news organizations’ … all of them ‘fake’ I suppose. If this exercise in collecting information from the public seems to you to be ‘agenda driven/driven/anti-American’, well that exposes a lot about you as well. Cheers!

  5. Well they seem to be pretty adept at making assumptions and then broadcasting their false conclusions about what I (as a ‘leftist’) must hate. Methinks that counts…

  6. Here’s the big question: Is the Documenting Hate project database being driven by a political agenda?

    One of the reasons given for establishing this database is “there is simply no reliable national data on hate crimes.” That’s a rather dubious claim since both the Department of Justice and the FBI maintain hate crime statistics. In addition, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a collaboration led by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists, documents press freedom incidents in the United States and includes numerous instances of “anti-fascist” agitators harassing and assaulting journalists since President Trump took office.

    And although the Documenting Hate project is called a hate crime database according to the Colorado Independent it will also contain incidents “that law enforcers and governmental agencies don’t document because they don’t rise to the level of criminality.” In other words, this so-called “hate crime” database will also contain non-crimes. So will these non-crimes be reported as crimes and who will determine whether these non-crimes are hateful?

    Here are two hate crimes that are conspicuously absent from the Documenting Hate project database and strongly suggest the Documenting Hate project is agenda-driven:

    – In Portland, Oregon last month members of the anti-fascist group Antifa brutally attacked photojournalist Andy Ngo the gay son of Vietnamese immigrants. The attack induced a brain hemorrhage that required Ngo’s overnight hospitalization.

    – Last month while eating at The Aviary, a Chicago restaurant, President Trump’s son Eric was spit on by one of the restaurant’s employees

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