Police searching for white man who hurled a bottle of motor oil at Black Seattle reverend

Rev. Harriett Walden has long been an activist in Seattle for police accountability and social justice. Late Tuesday, she called a news conference to speak out against the dramatic increase in hate crime. She began by talking about her own experience walking downtown last week, The Seattle Times reported.

She described crossing the street around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. A white man who was stopped at the light shouted racist slurs at her. He inched his car closer and closer to her, making her think that he was going to try and hit her. But the grandmother kept walking. She was then struck in the back by a bottle of motor oil.

"I'm blessed. You know why I'm blessed? The only weapon he had in his car was the motor oil," she said. "We know so many times people have guns. And so, you know, I'm here today, no obituary needed. He called me all sorts of names. It was melanin that set the guy off, OK? Let's be clear. It was melanin, and it's not going away."

She was shocked, noting that she's never been the target of violence before.

"Police are following leads in the case but are hoping someone out there may have more information about the driver and his dark-colored hatchback, which may have been lowered," the police department's online blotter says.

Hate crimes reached the highest level in more than a decade, the FBI reported in August. The United States hasn't seen this level of "bias incidents" since the 2008 election season when conspiracy theorists claimed Barack Obama was a secret Muslim or that he wasn't really born in the United States.

In 2018, Wired wrote that the Internet Research Agency has worked to ensure Americans are "being influenced by liars spreading memes about our inability to understand the truth." After the Russian intrusion in the 2016 election, the House and Senate found that a piece of their campaign was in pitting Black and White Americans against each other.

"We can say that these ads caused harm and additional resentment to young people who unselfishly fight for justice and equality for African Americans and other marginalized communities," said Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) at the time.

Anyone with information about the attack on Rev. is being asked to call SPD's violent crimes tip line at 206-233-5000.

Read the full report.