SEATTLE - A night out on Capitol Hill on February 1st turned into a night that's hard to forget for Jonathan Halsey.
"I guess he heard us talking and I guess that is when he like yelled that word out," recalled Halsey.
The word, a homophobic slur, was hurled at Jonathan and his two friends by a stranger, and he didn't stop there.
"He basically spit in my face and then came towards me, and that's when I defended myself," said Halsey.
A police officer was nearby, and the man who allegedly attacked Jonathan was arrested and charged with malicious harassment.
The incident is one of several hate crime cases the King County Prosecutor's Office already has on file for this year. The prosecutor's office had nine malicious harassment cases in 2013, and that number doubled the following year.
Seattle police report an uptick in that kind of crime. Hate violence accounted for 126 events police responded to in 2014, compared to 110 events in 2013.
The most recent example is a man reportedly yelling slurs at the Value Village on Capitol Hill. He was arrested Monday. The recent activity is why Mayor Ed Murray and his husband attended a forum at a church on 500 Broadway East Tuesday evening.
"I think there is an increase. We have been here before. We have seen this right on this very street before in the late 80s and early 90s when I was a young person. And we are seeing it again," said Mayor Murray.
The forum brought together community leaders who talked for two hours about ways to work together on the issue.