Wrapping up a two-year probe, the Washington State Bar Association has issued an extraordinary 38-page report on racism in a small town, confirming allegations raised in

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Racism, Confirmed

State Bar affirms SW story on town's intolerance.

Wrapping up a two-year probe, the Washington State Bar Association has issued an extraordinary 38-page report on racism in a small town, confirming allegations raised in a 2005 Seattle Weekly story and finding that Hoquiam and Grays Harbor County prosecutors failed to do their duties. Undertaking a review of civil rights violations detailed in the story, "Black and White In Grays Harbor County," a bar subcommittee was also critical of other attorneys and the bar association leadership itself for not aggressively addressing intolerance in the state through legal remedies.

In its "white paper," which includes an additional 191 pages of evidence, interview transcripts and police reports, the bar's Olympic Peninsula Racial Discrimination Subcommittee:

Confirmed allegations made in the Seattle Weekly article that the family of Angela Walker had been subjected to racial discrimination. However, this is the tip of the iceberg. There are systemic problems in (a) the way the school in Hoquiam failed to deal with the issue, (b) the way some police officers blamed the victim and further harassed them; (c) the utter failure of the Hoquiam school officials to cooperate in any way with this investigation, (d) the racial name-calling in the region, including schoolhouses, (e) the lack of substantial interest or activism by lawyers in Grays Harbor County, with one exception [an attorney who helped briefly], to address these issues, and (f) the hostility and non-responsiveness of WSBA leadership to deal with such a pressing issue."

Seattle attorney Rob Gaudet, who headed up the study for the bar's Civil Rights Committee, says "If this investigation has taught us anything, it is that the truth may hurt.  Racism does exist in our state, and many people are not comfortable looking at it. This is part of the truth that we wish to report."

 
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