Press Release

ADL Welcomes Arrest in Spokane Backpack Case

Seattle, WA, March 10, 2011 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local Spokane law enforcement personnel for the arrest of an individual suspected of planting a backpack containing a sophisticated bomb along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, WA. Kevin William Harpham, 36, was charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of knowingly possessing an improvised explosive device. 

Hilary Bernstein, ADL Pacific Northwest Community Director, issued the following statement: 

ADL applauds federal and local law enforcement for their swift work in this case and for making this investigation a priority. Early indications suggest that this attempted parade attack was likely racially-motivated, and had the potential to harm hundreds of participants scheduled to march in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Therefore, we call upon federal and state law enforcement officials to investigate whether this attempted bombing was a hate crime and to prosecute it to the full extent of the law. 

The diligent efforts by law enforcement in this case send a clear message that violent criminal actions targeting or threatening the safety of any group of individuals will not be tolerated in our communities.

The League has long been at the forefront of national and state efforts to deter and counteract hate crimes and incidents.