WARNING: This story includes an image of a handwritten note which some may find offensive.
SEATTLE -- A Seattle business owner is speaking out after becoming the target of a hate crime. After news of the incident started spreading on social media, Seattle Police decided to host a community discussion about it this week.
“I've never had to hide for one minute who I was in this neighborhood,” said Aaron Amundsen, co-owner of Emerald City Tattoo and Supply in the Lake City neighborhood.
One morning, a week after the election, his business partner, Tony Johns, found a note on Amundsen's windshield.
“I saw there was a note on my best friend’s car,” said Johns, “So I walked up and I pulled it out from under there and I read it. I came in, and I was quite upset.”
“This is the start of something really ugly,” Johns remembered thinking. “It broke my heart, it truly broke my heart.”
The note read, “Hey (expletive). We won, so you better watch you're [sic] back. You're [sic] days are numberd [sic]. Make America STRAIGHT again to make it GREAT again. You will see, you (expletive).”
“It was like someone punched me in the gut,” said Amundsen, “because I had never experience in my life and I've been out since high school. I've never experienced something so threatening.”
The Seattle Police LGBT liaison, Officer Jim Ritter, who started the Safe Place program, calls it malicious harassment, a hate crime.
“It is clearly a threat based on a threat of the victim's sexually identity,” said Ritter. “It's pre-meditated and the victim was targeted.”
Last week, SPD released the latest numbers and categories for hate crimes in the city, with incidents against the LGBT community the second highest category.
Detective Beth Wareing, SPD Bias Crimes Coordinator, said the numbers were up in November, and they’ve seen a few cases in which the election was referenced.
It’s unclear if the increase is due to an actual increase in incidents or perhaps a willingness to report it.
Amundson felt a responsibility to speak out.
“I believe it's my absolute right as a citizen, and as an upstanding person, to say wait a minute - this is not acceptable and don't let anyone tell you it is,” he said.
He will be one of the speakers at a Community Awareness Forum on hate crimes this Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Lake City Community Center.