Tribe Thinks Fatal Hit-and-Run Is a Hate Crime

Says witness heard accused yell racial slurs; cops say there's no evidence
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2017 10:45 AM CDT
Tribe Thinks Fatal Hit-and-Run Is a Hate Crime
Jimmy Smith-Kramer   (Facebook)

A 31-year-old man was charged Tuesday with second-degree homicide after he allegedly drove over two young men at a Washington campground, one of whom later died. But the Quinault Indian Nation believes he should also be charged with a hate crime. Based on a firsthand account from a "tribal youth," the Quinault Indian Nation says "the driver was screaming racial slurs and war whoops when he ran over the two tribal members" around 1:30am Saturday, reports the Seattle Times. Grays Harbor County Police say a white pickup truck drove into Donkey Creek Campground near Hoquiam and began doing doughnuts. After campers tried to intervene—a rock was possibly thrown at the truck—witnesses claimed the driver tried to "run them down," police tell Q13.

Police say the driver then backed over 20-year-old Jimmy Smith-Kramer, a father of twin toddlers who was celebrating his birthday, and 19-year-old Harvey Anderson, before speeding off. Smith-Kramer died later at a hospital, while Anderson was released from the hospital Sunday with a bruised lung and cracked sternum. He tells KREM that Smith-Kramer tried to push him out of the truck's path. "I'm still wondering why this happened," he says. "We didn't deserve this." A white male was arrested and his pickup truck seized Tuesday. But though the Quinault Indian Nation says police interviewed the tribal youth who described hearing racial slurs, police say no witness "has been able to tell us that there were any racial slurs thrown out." (Police say the killing of four white men was a hate crime.)

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